Functional MRI in pre-surgical planning : case of study and cautionary notes

Spottiswoode, Bruce S. ; Du Plessis, S. ; Gretschel, Armin ; Lotz, Jan W. (2012-09)

CITATION: Spottiswoode, B.S., Du Plessis, S., Gretschel, A. & Lotz, J.W. 2012. Functional MRI in pre-surgical planning: case of study and cautionary notes. South African Journal of Radiology; 16(3):107-110, doi: 10.4102/sajr.v16i3.293 .

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Background. Since its inception almost 20 years ago, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has greatly advanced our knowledge of human brain function. Although the clinical applications of fMRI are still limited, there have recently been encouraging advances for its use in pre-operative functional cortical mapping to identify potentially eloquent areas prior to neurosurgery. Objectives. We explore the potential use of this emerging technique by presenting a neurosurgical case study, as performed at the Cape Universities Brain Imaging Centre (CUBIC), Tygerberg, Cape Town. We conclude with a brief summary of the potential pitfalls of this technique, as well as cautionary guidelines based on our experience. Methods and results. A 22-year-old male patient from Tygerberg Hospital underwent the successful resection of an anaplastic astrocytoma after fMRI presurgical planning at our facility. The subject was able to leave the ward unassisted. Conclusion. If consideration is given to the many limitations of this emerging technique, fMRI can be useful in aiding the neurosurgeon in pre-operative planning of his surgical approach.

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