Intraoperative localization of subcortical brain lesions

V. Esposito, S. Paolini, R. Morace, C. Colonnese, E. Venditti, V. Calistri, G. Cantore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. Some brain tumors may grow immediately beneath the cortical surface without distorting its appearance. Intraoperative image guidance promotes safe resection. We have developed MRI-based corticotopography (MRI-bct), to localize lesions during surgery, using simple, non-dedicated equipment, to match a three-dimensional reconstruction with the corresponding appearance of the brain cortex. Methods. Forty-six patients underwent resection of subcortical brain lesions, aided by MRI-bct. The lesions had a maximum diameter less than 3 cm, were subcortical but no deeper than the floor of the nearest cerebral sulcus. Each patient had a volumetric MRI scan with and without contrast administration. Data sets were transferred to a laptop personal computer and processed using a rendering software. At operation, the three-dimensional model of the brain, including a surface overlay of the lesion, was matched to the exposed brain surface. After its exact relationship with the overlying sulcal pattern was defined, the lesion was localized and resected. In selected patients, the procedure was coupled with functional brain mapping. Results. Data processing took from 10 to 15 min and could be done whenever convenient before operation. Surface matching between the surgical field and the reformatted MRI always required less than 5 min and was done near the operating table. In all patients, the lesion was identified at the first attempt, through a small corticotomy, regardless of the brain shift after dural opening. Conclusions. MRI-bct is a practical, time-saving neuronavigational aid ideal for localizing superficial lesions underlying the cerebral cortex because it unmistakably characterizes the adjacent sulcal anatomy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)537-542
Number of pages6
JournalActa Neurochirurgica
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2008


  • Brain cortex
  • MRI
  • Neuronavigation
  • Reformatting
  • Three-dimensional

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery


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