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Fraunhofer MEVIS: New procedure to make brain surgery safer
Date:5/27/2011

Brain interventions must be planned so that the neurosurgeon can access and remove the tumor without causing unnecessary damage. Before the brain tumor can be removed, crucial questions must be answered. Where do the functional areas of the cortex (gray matter) of the patient lie? What are the paths of the nerve fiber tracts that connect them? Answering these questions is important because the functional areas of the brain are interconnected via nerve pathways, also known as nerve fiber tracts. These nerve tracts must be protected as much as possible; otherwise, permanent dysfunction could occur. Furthermore, nerve tracts can be pushed or infiltrated by the brain tumor itself. If nerve tracts become damaged during an operation, there is a risk that distant functional areas connected to the tumor-afflicted part of the brain could be affected and induce lasting sensory, motor, and cognitive impairment. Therefore, neurosurgeons attempt to answer these questions for each patient during the planning stage of the brain operation to minimize the risks present in the intervention. To do so, surgeons require medical imagery of each patient's brain anatomy and function that is as realistic and precise as possible. However, medical images contain inaccuracies that arise from the processing, modeling, and reconstruction of patient data.

Solving these problems requires more than merely improving existing imaging methods. Mathematical analysis and models must be integrated to produce information about the location of the tumor, functional areas, and nerve fiber tracts, to increase the accuracy of patient-specific data, and to give the surgeon dependable knowledge.

The Fraunhofer MEVIS Institute for Medical Image Computing in Bremen, Germany has pioneered a procedure that analyzes uncertainty in patient-specific images, modeling, and reconstruction and incorporates this information into reconstructions of patient data. This procedure allows safety margins
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Contact: Dr. Guido Prause
guido.prause@mevis.fraunhofer.de
49-421-218-59004
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert  

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