The 3-D mapping will help surgeons see exactly where electrodes have been placed in the brain, and portions of the brain that may have to be removed to help stop seizures during surgery.
The new technology was developed by a team of researchers led by Song Lai at Jefferson Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University.
As part of this new 3-D imaging process, a patient's brain is typically scanned the day before surgery in order to obtain the most up-to-date imaging data.
DTI (diffusion tensor imaging) and fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) images of the brain are integrated and downloaded, using the MediCAD software, onto PCs in the (OR).
This allows the surgeons to view almost real-time digital map of a patient's brain and better perceive brain activity information. MediCAD also allows the surgeons to virtual 'slice' the brain into sections, zoom in for close-ups of sections of the brain and even rotate the image in various directions.
"This multi-disciplinary project represents a unique combination of advanced imaging technology development with significant clinical applications, bringing together different but complementary expertise, including MRI physicists, computer scientists, neurosurgeons, and neuroradiologists," Dr. Lai said.
"The developed software is fast, does not require any pre-processing beyond standard fMRI analysis and is flexible enough to be incorporated into existing complex medical visualization systems," Dr. Lai added.