Object. The availability of large-array biomagnetometers has led to advances in magnetoencephalography that permit scientists and clinicians to map selected brain functions onto magnetic resonance images. This merging of technologies is termed magnetic source (MS) imaging. The present study was undertaken to assess the role of MS imaging for the guidance of presurgical planning and intraoperative neurosurgical technique used in patients with intracranial mass lesions.
Methods. Twenty-six patients with intracranial mass lesions underwent a medical evaluation consisting of MS imaging, a clinical history, a neurological examination, and assessment with the Karnofsky Performance Scale. Magnetic source imaging was used to locate the somatosensory cortex in 25 patients, the visual cortex in six, and the auditory cortex in four. The distance between the lesion and the functional cortex was determined for each patient.
Twenty-one patients underwent a neurosurgical procedure. As a surgical adjunct, a frameless stereotactic navigational system was used in 17 cases and a standard stereotactic apparatus in four cases. Because of the results of their MS imaging examination, two patients were not offered surgery, four underwent a stereotactic biopsy procedure, 10 were treated with a subtotal surgical resection, and seven were treated with complete surgical resection. One patient deteriorated before a procedure could be scheduled and, therefore, was not offered surgery, and two patients were offered surgery but declined. Three patients experienced surgery-related complications.
Conclusions. Magnetic source imaging is an important noninvasive neurodiagnostic tool that provides critical information regarding the spatial relationship of a brain lesion to functional cortex. By providing this information, MS imaging facilitates a minimum-risk management strategy and helps guide operative neurosurgical technique in patients with intracranial mass lesions.