- Advanced Brain Imaging Techniques

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Several new technologies are available to create a detailed map of the brain, allowing neurosurgeons to better remove brain tumors and reduce the injury to other parts of the brain during surgery:

  • Functional MRI (fMRI) - Functional magnetic resonance imaging detects changes in blood flow when parts of the brain are used. When a part of your body is used, more blood flow is needed. This allows the neurosurgeon to make a map of the important functional areas in the patient's brain.
  • Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) - Shows how different critical brain regions connect. fMRI images only show where brain signals begin, but tracking the fibers (white matter) also gives the neurosurgeon important information.
  • MRI Spectroscopy (MRS) - Gives info about the chemical make-up of the tumor. If it is a large tumor, it can help find the best biopsy site by identifying the most malignant portion of a large tumor. It can also help distinguish the tumor from other infections and abnormalities.
  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET) - Gives information about tumor behavior, such as how much sugar it is using, if it takes up DOPA, and where the most malignant portion of the tumor is. It can also see if a tumor changes behavior by following it over time.
  • Three-Dimensional Conformal Radiation Therapy (3D-CRT) - Using images from CT and MRI scans, doctors create a 3D model of the tumor and surrounding area. Radiation beams are then aimed directly at the tumor, avoiding the normal tissue.
  • Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT). A type of 3D-CRT that better targets the tumor with high does of radiation because the radiation beams are broken up into smaller beams, each of which can have the intensity changed. This allows the neurosurgeon to direct the more intense beams at the tumor.

Note: The information provided on this website was not written by a doctor or cancer specialist, so in all cases you should consult your own doctor about diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment.

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