Ultra-high-field targeted imaging of focal cortical dysplasia: The intracortical black line sign in type IIB

E. Bartolini, M. Cosottini, M. Costagli, C. Barba, L. Tassi, R. Spreafico, R. Garbelli, L. Biagi, A. Buccoliero, F. Giordano, R. Guerrini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Conventional MR imaging has limitations in detecting focal cortical dysplasia. We assessed the added value of 7T in patients with histologically proved focal cortical dysplasia to highlight correlations between neuropathology and ultra-high-field imaging. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Between 2013 and 2019, we performed a standardized 7T MR imaging protocol in patients with drug-resistant focal epilepsy. We focused on 12 patients in whom postsurgical histopathology revealed focal cortical dysplasia and explored the diagnostic yield of preoperative 7T versus 1.5/3T MR imaging and the correlations of imaging findings with histopathology. We also assessed the relationship between epilepsy surgery outcome and the completeness of surgical removal of the MR imaging-visible structural abnormality. RESULTS: We observed clear abnormalities in 10/12 patients using 7T versus 9/12 revealed by 1.5/3T MR imaging. In patients with focal cortical dysplasia I, 7T MR imaging did not disclose morphologic abnormalities (n = 0/2). In patients with focal cortical dysplasia II, 7T uncovered morphologic signs that were not visible on clinical imaging in 1 patient with focal cortical dysplasia IIa (n = 1/4) and in all those with focal cortical dysplasia IIb (n = 6/6). T2*WI provided the highest added value, disclosing a peculiar intracortical hypointense band (black line) in 5/6 patients with focal cortical dysplasia IIb. The complete removal of the black line was associated with good postsurgical outcome (n = 4/5), while its incomplete removal yielded unsatisfactory results (n = 1/5). CONCLUSIONS: The high sensitivity of 7T T2*-weighted images provides an additional tool in defining potential morphologic markers of high epileptogenicity within the dysplastic tissue of focal cortical dysplasia IIb and will likely help to more precisely plan epilepsy surgery and explain surgical failures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2137-2142
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology


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