[Practical role of functional MRI in neurosurgery]

Neurochirurgie. 2000 Feb;46(1):11-22.
[Article in French]


Introduction: Since its description in the early 1990's, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has been used first for research purposes, and after in clinical applications in the field of neurosurgery. The purpose of this article was to critically review the literature on fMRI to achieve a better understanding of the usefulness of fMRI in brain surgery for tumors, epilepsy surgery, and radiosurgery.

Material and methods: Medical literature databases containing peer-review articles dating from 1990 were queried for key words related to fMRI.

Results: On 3,065 references scanned for relevance, 256 articles with direct or indirect relationships between fMRI and neurosurgery were analyzed.

Discussion: fMRI can be useful in the selection of patients for whom a surgical resection is attempted and could aid in the decision-making whether to operate on a patient who has been previously considered inoperable. fMRI is a useful tool in the decisional scheme of treatment of low-grade astrocytomas or arteriovenous malformations in the rolandic area in intact or slightly impaired patients. fMRI can be repeated in selected patients with slow growing brain tumors or congenital lesions such as AVM to study cortical reorganization phenomena. In epilepsy surgery, the Wada-test could be substituted by fMRI to determine the hemispheric dominance of language. The choice of standardized tasks and a better understanding of analysis problems in the treatment of fMRI images must be achieved before drawing more accurate conclusions on fMRI and brain tumors.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain Diseases / pathology*
  • Brain Diseases / physiopathology
  • Brain Diseases / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*