Intraoperative diffusion-tensor MR imaging: shifting of white matter tracts during neurosurgical procedures--initial experience

Radiology. 2005 Jan;234(1):218-25. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2341031984. Epub 2004 Nov 24.


Purpose: To prospectively evaluate the location of white matter tracts with diffusion-tensor imaging (DTI) during neurosurgical procedures.

Materials and methods: Ethical committee approval and signed informed consent were obtained. A 1.5-T magnetic resonance imager with an adapted rotating surgical table that is placed in a radiofrequency-shielded operating theater was used for pre- and intraoperative imaging. DTI was performed by applying an echo-planar imaging sequence with six diffusion directions in 38 patients (20 female patients, 18 male patients; age range, 7-77 years; mean age, 45.6 years) who were undergoing surgery (35 craniotomy and three burr hole procedures). Color-encoded maps of fractional anisotropy were generated by depicting white matter tracts. A rigid registration algorithm was used to compare pre- and intraoperative images.

Results: Intraoperative DTI was technically feasible in all patients, and no major image distortions occurred in the areas of interest. Pre- and intraoperative color-encoded maps of fractional anisotropy could be registered; these maps depicted marked and highly variable shifting of white matter tracts during neurosurgical procedures. In the 27 patients who underwent brain tumor resection, white matter tract shifting ranged from an inward shift of 8 mm to an outward shift of 15 mm (mean shift +/- standard deviation, outward shift of 2.5 mm +/- 5.8). In 16 (59%) of 27 patients, outward shifting was detected; in eight (30%), inward shifting was detected. In eight patients who underwent temporal lobe resections for drug-resistant epilepsy, shifting was only inward and ranged from 2 to 14 mm (9 mm +/- 3.3). In two of the three patients who underwent burr hole procedures, outward shifting occurred.

Conclusion: Intraoperative DTI can depict shifting of major white matter tracts that is caused by surgical intervention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Brain Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Child
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intraoperative Period
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurosurgical Procedures
  • Prospective Studies