Brain specialists at The Neuroscience Institute at University Hospital and the University of Cincinnati have taken a significant step forward in their quest to treat difficult tumors while preserving areas of the brain that are responsible for speech and movement. The Cincinnati specialists are among the first in the country to use new technology that integrates functional MRI (fMRI) data into high-tech surgical navigation systems.The fMRI data, which pinpoint language, cognition, and mobility centers of the brain, allow neurosurgeons to remove tumors to the greatest extent possible without harming areas that are critical to the patient’s quality of life.
Functional MRI creates a series of images that capture blood oxygen levels in parts of the brain that are responsible for movement, perception, and cognition. Functional MRI, which reveals the brain in action, differs from standard MRI, which provides a static image.
“This is a quantum leap in what we’re able to do,” said Dr. James Leach, a brain-imaging specialist (neuroradiologist) with UC Radiology and The Neuroscience Institute. “It has significantly affected how neurosurgeons plan to do neurosurgery and how much tumor they can remove while still avoiding critical areas of brain function.”