Intraoperative MRI in neurosurgery: Technical overkill or the future of brain surgery?|
The development of image-guided neurosurgery represents a substantial improvement in the microsurgical treatment of tumors, vascular malformations and other intracranial lesions. Despite the wide applicability and many fascinating aspects of image-guided navigation systems, a major drawback of this technology is they use images, mainly MRI pictures, acquired preoperatively, on which the planning of the operative procedure as well as its intraoperative performance is based. As dynamic changes of the intracranial contents regularly occur during the surgical procedure, the surgeon is faced with a continuously changing intraoperative field. Only intraoperatively acquired images will provide the neurosurgeon with the information he needs to perform real intraoperative image-guided surgery. A number of tools have been developed in recent years, like intraoperative ultrasound and dedicated moveable intraoperative CT units. Because of its excellent imaging qualities, combined with the avoidance of ionizing radiation, MRI currently is and definitely will be in the future for the superior imaging method for intraoperative image guidance. In this short overview, the development as well as some of the current and possible future applications of MRI-guided neurosurgery is outlined.