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Introduction: Neuroimaging of degenerative and traumatic encephalopathies

Meng Law, Max Wintermark, Charles Liu, and John Darrell Van Horn

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Letter to the Editor: Correlation of diffusion tensor imaging and intraoperative macrostimulation

Volker A. Coenen and Cameron C. McIntyre

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The predictive value of magnetic resonance imaging in evaluating intracranial arteriovenous malformation obliteration after stereotactic radiosurgery

Cheng-Chia Lee, Michael A. Reardon, Benjamin Z. Ball, Ching-Jen Chen, Chun-Po Yen, Zhiyuan Xu, Max Wintermark, and Jason Sheehan

OBJECT

The current gold standard for diagnosing arteriovenous malformation (AVM) and assessing its obliteration after stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is digital subtraction angiography (DSA). Recently, MRI and MR angiography (MRA) have become increasingly popular imaging modalities for the follow-up of patients with an AVM because of their convenient setup and noninvasiveness. In this study, the authors assessed the sensitivity and specificity of MRI/MRA in evaluating AVM nidus obliteration as assessed by DSA.

METHODS

The authors study a consecutive series of 136 patients who underwent SRS between January 2000 and December 2012 and who underwent regular clinical examinations, several MRI studies, and at least 1 post-SRS DSA follow- up evaluation at the University of Virginia. The average follow-up time was 47.3 months (range 10.1–165.2 months). Two blinded observers were enrolled to interpret the results of MRI/MRA compared with those of DSA. The sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value for the obliteration of AVM were reported.

RESULTS

On the basis of DSA, 73 patients (53.7%) achieved final angiographic obliteration in a median of 28.8 months. The sensitivity (the probability of finding obliteration on MRI/MRA among those for whom complete obliteration was shown on DSA) was 84.9% for one observer (Observer 1) and 76.7% for the other (Observer 2). The specificity was 88.9% and 95.2%, respectively. The false-negative interpretations were significantly related to the presence of draining veins, perinidal edema on T2-weighted images, and the interval between the MRI/MRA and DSA studies.

CONCLUSIONS

MRI/MRA predicted AVM obliteration after SRS in most patients and can be used in their follow-up. However, because the specificity of MRI/MRA is not perfect, DSA should still be performed to confirm AVM nidus obliteration after SRS.

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Evaluation of monoenergetic imaging to reduce metallic instrumentation artifacts in computed tomography of the cervical spine

Peter Komlosi, Deborah Grady, Justin S. Smith, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Allen R. Goode, Patricia G. Judy, Mark Shaffrey, and Max Wintermark

OBJECT

Monoenergetic imaging with dual-energy CT has been proposed to reduce metallic artifacts in comparison with conventional polychromatic CT. The purpose of this study is to systematically evaluate and define the optimal dual-energy CT imaging parameters for specific cervical spinal implant alloy compositions.

METHODS

Spinal fixation rods of cobalt-chromium or titanium alloy inserted into the cervical spine section of an Alderson Rando anthropomorphic phantom were imaged ex vivo with fast-kilovoltage switching CT at 80 and 140 peak kV. The collimation width and field of view were varied between 20 and 40 mm and medium to large, respectively. Extrapolated monoenergetic images were generated at 70, 90, 110, and 130 kiloelectron volts (keV). The standard deviation of voxel intensities along a circular line profile around the spine was used as an index of the magnitude of metallic artifact.

RESULTS

The metallic artifact was more conspicuous around the fixation rods made of cobalt-chromium than those of titanium alloy. The magnitude of metallic artifact seen with titanium fixation rods was minimized at monoenergies of 90 keV and higher, using a collimation width of 20 mm and large field of view. The magnitude of metallic artifact with cobalt-chromium fixation rods was minimized at monoenergies of 110 keV and higher; collimation width or field of view had no effect.

CONCLUSIONS

Optimization of acquisition settings used with monoenergetic CT studies might yield reduced metallic artifacts.

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Correlation of diffusion tensor tractography and intraoperative macrostimulation during deep brain stimulation for Parkinson disease

Clinical article

Nicholas Said, W. Jeff Elias, Prashant Raghavan, Alan Cupino, Nicholas Tustison, Robert Frysinger, James Patrie, Wenjun Xin, and Max Wintermark

Object

The purpose of this study was to investigate whether diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) of the corticospinal tract (CST) is a reliable surrogate for intraoperative macrostimulation through the deep brain stimulation (DBS) leads. The authors hypothesized that the distance on MRI from the DBS lead to the CST as determined by DTI would correlate with intraoperative motor thresholds from macrostimulations through the same DBS lead.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed pre- and postoperative MRI studies and intraoperative macrostimulation recordings in 17 patients with Parkinson disease (PD) treated by DBS stimulation. Preoperative DTI tractography of the CST was coregistered with postoperative MRI studies showing the position of the DBS leads. The shortest distance and the angle from each contact of each DBS lead to the CST was automatically calculated using software-based analysis. The distance measurements calculated for each contact were evaluated with respect to the intraoperative voltage thresholds that elicited a motor response at each contact.

Results

There was a nonsignificant trend for voltage thresholds to increase when the distances between the DBS leads and the CST increased. There was a significant correlation between the angle and the voltage, but the correlation was weak (coefficient of correlation [R] = 0.36).

Conclusions

Caution needs to be exercised when using DTI tractography information to guide DBS lead placement in patients with PD. Further studies are needed to compare DTI tractography measurements with other approaches such as microelectrode recordings and conventional intraoperative MRI–guided placement of DBS leads.

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Clinical application of perfusion computed tomography in neurosurgery

Clinical article

Abel Po-Hao Huang, Jui-Chang Tsai, Lu-Ting Kuo, Chung-Wei Lee, Hong-Shiee Lai, Li-Kai Tsai, Sheng-Jean Huang, Chien-Min Chen, Yuan-Shen Chen, Hao-Yu Chuang, and Max Wintermark

Object

Currently, perfusion CT (PCT) is a valuable imaging technique that has been successfully applied to the clinical management of patients with ischemic stroke and aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). However, recent literature and the authors' experience have shown that PCT has many more important clinical applications in a variety of neurosurgical conditions. Therefore, the authors share their experiences of its application in various diseases of the cerebrovascular, neurotraumatology, and neurooncology fields and review the pertinent literature regarding expanding PCT applications for neurosurgical conditions, including pitfalls and future developments.

Methods

A pertinent literature search was conducted of English-language articles describing original research, case series, and case reports from 1990 to 2011 involving PCT and with relevance and applicability to neurosurgical disorders.

Results

In the cerebrovascular field, PCT is already in use as a diagnostic tool for patients suspected of having an ischemic stroke. Perfusion CT can be used to identify and define the extent of the infarct core and ischemic penumbra core, and thus aid patient selection for acute reperfusion therapy. For patients with aneurysmal SAH, PCT provides assessment of early brain injury, cerebral ischemia, and infarction, in addition to vasospasm. It may also be used to aid case selection for aggressive treatment of patients with poor SAH grade. In terms of oncological applications, PCT can be used as an imaging biomarker to assess angiogenesis and response to antiangiogenetic treatments, differentiate between glioma grades, and distinguish recurrent tumor from radiation necrosis. In the setting of traumatic brain injury, PCT can detect and delineate contusions at an early stage. In patients with mild head injury, PCT results have been shown to correlate with the severity and duration of postconcussion syndrome. In patients with moderate or severe head injury, PCT results have been shown to correlate with patients' functional outcome.

Conclusions

Perfusion CT provides quantitative and qualitative data that can add diagnostic and prognostic value in a number of neurosurgical disorders, and also help with clinical decision making. With emerging new technical developments in PCT, such as characterization of blood-brain barrier permeability and whole-brain PCT, this technique is expected to provide more and more insight into the pathophysiology of many neurosurgical conditions.

Free access

The role of imaging in acute ischemic stroke

Elizabeth Tong, Qinghua Hou, Jochen B. Fiebach, and Max Wintermark

Neuroimaging has expanded beyond its traditional diagnostic role and become a critical tool in the evaluation and management of stroke. The objectives of imaging include prompt accurate diagnosis, treatment triage, prognosis prediction, and secondary preventative precautions. While capitalizing on the latest treatment options and expanding upon the “time is brain” doctrine, the ultimate goal of imaging is to maximize the number of treated patients and improve the outcome of one the most costly and morbid disease. A broad overview of comprehensive multimodal stroke imaging is presented here to affirm its utilization.

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A magnetic resonance imaging, histological, and dose modeling comparison of focused ultrasound, radiofrequency, and Gamma Knife radiosurgery lesions in swine thalamus

Laboratory investigation

W. Jeff Elias, Mohamad Khaled, Justin D. Hilliard, Jean-Francois Aubry, Robert C. Frysinger, Jason P. Sheehan, Max Wintermark, and Maria Beatriz Lopes

Object

The purpose of this study was to use MRI and histology to compare stereotactic lesioning modalities in a large brain model of thalamotomy.

Methods

A unilateral thalamotomy was performed in piglets utilizing one of 3 stereotactic lesioning modalities: focused ultrasound (FUS), radiofrequency, and radiosurgery. Standard clinical lesioning parameters were used for each treatment; and clinical, MRI, and histological assessments were made at early (< 72 hours), subacute (1 week), and later (1–3 months) time intervals.

Results

Histological and MRI assessment showed similar development for FUS and radiofrequency lesions. T2-weighted MRI revealed 3 concentric lesional zones at 48 hours with resolution of perilesional edema by 1 week. Acute ischemic infarction with macrophage infiltration was most prominent at 72 hours, with subsequent resolution of the inflammatory reaction and coalescence of the necrotic zone. There was no apparent difference in ischemic penumbra or “sharpness” between FUS or radiofrequency lesions. The radiosurgery lesions presented differently, with latent effects, less circumscribed lesions at 3 months, and apparent histological changes seen in white matter beyond the thalamic target. Additionally, thermal and radiation lesioning gradients were compared with modeling by dose to examine the theoretical penumbra.

Conclusions

In swine thalamus, FUS and radiosurgery lesions evolve similarly as determined by MRI, histological examination, and theoretical modeling. Radiosurgery produces lesions with more delayed effects and seemed to result in changes in the white matter beyond the thalamic target.

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Minimally invasive treatment of intracerebral hemorrhage with magnetic resonance–guided focused ultrasound

Laboratory investigation

Stephen J. Monteith, Sagi Harnof, Ricky Medel, Britney Popp, Max Wintermark, M. Beatriz S. Lopes, Neal F. Kassell, W. Jeff Elias, John Snell, Matthew Eames, Eyal Zadicario, Krisztina Moldovan, and Jason Sheehan

Object

Intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) is a major cause of death and disability throughout the world. Surgical techniques are limited by their invasive nature and the associated disability caused during clot removal. Preliminary data have shown promise for the feasibility of transcranial MR-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) sonothrombolysis in liquefying the clotted blood in ICH and thereby facilitating minimally invasive evacuation of the clot via a twist-drill craniostomy and aspiration tube.

Methods and Results

In an in vitro model, the following optimum transcranial sonothrombolysis parameters were determined: transducer center frequency 230 kHz, power 3950 W, pulse repetition rate 1 kHz, duty cycle 10%, and sonication duration 30 seconds. Safety studies were performed in swine (n = 20). In a swine model of ICH, MRgFUS sonothrombolysis of 4 ml ICH was performed. Magnetic resonance imaging and histological examination demonstrated complete lysis of the ICH without additional brain injury, blood-brain barrier breakdown, or thermal necrosis due to sonothrombolysis. A novel cadaveric model of ICH was developed with 40-ml clots implanted into fresh cadaveric brains (n = 10). Intracerebral hemorrhages were successfully liquefied (> 95%) with transcranial MRgFUS in a highly accurate fashion, permitting minimally invasive aspiration of the lysate under MRI guidance.

Conclusions

The feasibility of transcranial MRgFUS sonothrombolysis was demonstrated in in vitro and cadaveric models of ICH. Initial in vivo safety data in a swine model of ICH suggest the process to be safe. Minimally invasive treatment of ICH with MRgFUS warrants evaluation in the setting of a clinical trial.

Free access

Potential intracranial applications of magnetic resonance–guided focused ultrasound surgery

A review

Stephen Monteith, Jason Sheehan, Ricky Medel, Max Wintermark, Matthew Eames, John Snell, Neal F. Kassell, and W. Jeff Elias

Magnetic resonance–guided focused ultrasound surgery (MRgFUS) has the potential to create a shift in the treatment paradigm of several intracranial disorders. High-resolution MRI guidance combined with an accurate method of delivering high doses of transcranial ultrasound energy to a discrete focal point has led to the exploration of noninvasive treatments for diseases traditionally treated by invasive surgical procedures. In this review, the authors examine the current intracranial applications under investigation and explore other potential uses for MRgFUS in the intracranial space based on their initial cadaveric studies.