Objectives: Reliable imaging of eloquent tumour-adjacent brain areas is necessary for planning function-preserving neurosurgery. This study evaluates the potential diagnostic benefits of presurgical functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in comparison to a detailed analysis of morphological MRI data.
Methods: Standardised preoperative functional and structural neuroimaging was performed on 77 patients with rolandic mass lesions at 1.5 Tesla. The central region of both hemispheres was allocated using six morphological and three functional landmarks.
Results: fMRI enabled localisation of the motor hand area in 76/77 patients, which was significantly superior to analysis of structural MRI (confident localisation of motor hand area in 66/77 patients; p < 0.002). FMRI provided additional diagnostic information in 96% (tongue representation) and 97% (foot representation) of patients. FMRI-based presurgical risk assessment correlated in 88% with a positive postoperative clinical outcome.
Conclusion: Routine presurgical FMRI allows for superior assessment of the spatial relationship between brain tumour and motor cortex compared with a very detailed analysis of structural 3D MRI, thus significantly facilitating the preoperative risk-benefit assessment and function-preserving surgery. The additional imaging time seems justified. FMRI has the potential to reduce postoperative morbidity and therefore hospitalisation time.