Preoperative diffusion tensor imaging: improving neurosurgical outcomes in brain tumor patients

Neuroimaging Clin N Am. 2014 Nov;24(4):599-617. doi: 10.1016/j.nic.2014.08.002. Epub 2014 Nov 1.


Preoperative mapping has revolutionized neurosurgical care for brain tumor patients. Maximizing resections has improved diagnosis, optimized treatment algorithms, and decreased potentially devastating postoperative deficits. Although mapping has multiple steps and complimentary localization sources, diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) excels in its essential role in depicting white matter tracts. A thorough understanding of DTI, data visualization methods, and limitations with mastery of functional and dysfunctional white matter anatomy is necessary to realize the potential of DTI. By establishing spatial relationships between lesion borders and functional networks preoperatively and intraoperatively, DTI is central to high-risk neurosurgical resections and becoming the standard of care.

Keywords: Brain mapping; Diffusion tensor imaging; Neurosurgery; Outcome.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Brain Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Diffusion Tensor Imaging / methods*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • Neurosurgical Procedures / methods*
  • Preoperative Care / methods*
  • Surgery, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • White Matter / pathology*
  • White Matter / surgery