MRI-Guided Biopsies Can Improve Brain Cancer Diagnosis

For the first time, neurosurgeons have combined real-time MRI technology with non-invasive cellular mapping techniques to develop a new approach to biopsies. The new approach increases the accuracy of diagnosis for brain cancer patients, and allows surgeons to visualize the parts of the brain tumor that contain different cell densities.

According to Clark C. Chen, MD, PhD, vice-chairman of research, division of neurosurgery at UC San Diego School of Medicine, as many as one third of brain tumor biopsies performed in the traditional manner can result in misdiagnosis. His team applied the MRI technique mentioned above and noticed they were able to identify the regions of the cell that are most representative of the entire tumor. By being able to better target biopsies to those areas, the number of total biopsies required is reduced.

 For decades, surgeons have been performing brain biopsies in a near blind manner. Now that surgeons are able to see where the biopsy needle is located in real time, they’ll have the opportunity to adjust their approach while minimizing risk. The procedure is performed in an MRI suite while the patient is under general anesthesia, using a special system that utilizes an integrated set of hardware, software, and surgical equipment that allows the surgeon to target and visualize the path of the biopsy.

If you’re interested in MRI technology, sign up for CNI College's MRI Technology School.