Imaging-guided surgery (IGS) systems are widely used in neurosurgical practice. During epilepsy surgery, the authors routinely use IGS landmarks to localize intracranial electrodes and/or specific brain regions. The authors have developed a technique to coregister these landmarks with pre- and postoperative scans and the Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI) standard space brain MRI to allow 1) localization and identification of tissue anatomy; and 2) identification of Brodmann areas (BAs) of the tissue resected during epilepsy surgery. Tracking tissue in this fashion allows for better correlation of patient outcome to clinical factors, functional neuroimaging findings, and pathological characteristics and molecular studies of resected tissue.
Tissue samples were collected in 21 patients. Coordinates from intraoperative tissue localization were downloaded from the IGS system and transformed into patient space, as defined by preoperative high-resolution T1-weighted MRI volume. Tissue landmarks in patient space were then transformed into MNI standard space for identification of the BAs of the tissue samples.
Anatomical locations of resected tissue were identified from the intraoperative resection landmarks. The BAs were identified for 17 of the 21 patients. The remaining patients had abnormal brain anatomy that could not be meaningfully coregistered with the MNI standard brain without causing extensive distortion.
This coregistration and landmark tracking technique allows localization of tissue that is resected from patients with epilepsy and identification of the BAs for each resected region. The ability to perform tissue localization allows investigators to relate preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative functional and anatomical brain imaging to better understand patient outcomes, improve patient safety, and aid in research.