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fMRI Prior to surgery Could Help In Outcome Of Tumor Surgery

Studies have shown that mapping the brain areas preoperative brain could effectively alter the outcome of tumor surgery. A study that is to appear in the September issue of Radiology, states that by systematically mapping the motor// and language areas of the brain with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), could help the surgeons in pinpointing the brain tumors more effectively, and could also reduce the risk of damaging important cognitive and motor processes.

Researchers from the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., who had conducted the study, explained that half of the patients with brain tumors who were enrolled in the fMRI study had their treatment approach changed after these vital brain regions were identified earlier to the surgery.

'In patients who underwent fMRI, neurosurgeons estimated that more tumor was removed at surgery, operations were shorter and skull incisions were smaller, compared with what they would have had if the fMRI data were not available,' said Jeffrey R. Petrella, M.D., associate professor of radiology in the neuroradiology division at Duke.

When brain tumors are located at the body's control center for thinking, sensation and movement, they can drastically affect a person's physical and cognitive abilities. In addition, surgical removal can be tricky because if key areas such as these are damaged, patients may experience postoperative symptoms such as limb weakness, language difficulties or partial blindness.

Each year, approximately 190,000 people are diagnosed with brain tumors in the United States, according to the National Brain Tumor Foundation. Additionally, more than 120 different types of brain tumors have been identified, making effective treatment planning difficult.

In the current study, 39 patients diagnosed with potentially operable brain tumors were evaluated with fMRI of the brain. During the imaging exam, they performed sentence
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