Background: We have used magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) in screening for unruptured cerebral aneurysms since 1993. The development of high-resolution magnetic resonance (MR) imaging has led to a remarkable improvement in image quality. Three-dimensional (3D) MRA can be used for surgical simulation. Here, we report on the usefulness of and problems associated with 3D MRA for the surgery of ruptured cerebral aneurysms.
Methods: Between June 1998 and June 2000, 106 patients with SAH diagnosed by 3D MRA underwent surgery. We compared 3D MRA images with operative findings and investigated the usefulness of this assessment tool.
Results: In 48 of 106 cases (45.3%), we were able to perform surgery based on 3D MRA alone. By using the 3D images, we could easily detect the relative location of the aneurysm, its neck and the surrounding arteries. The remaining cases required further examinations because of uncertainty of diagnosis or insufficient information.
Conclusion: 3D MRA is a safe and useful procedure for the diagnosis and surgery of ruptured cerebral aneurysms. However, in approximately half of all cases, 3D computed tomographic angiography (CTA) or digital subtraction angiography (DSA) is required in addition for the planning of surgery. It is important to use 3D MRA for surgery only after taking sufficient consideration of certain limitations peculiar to MRA.