Ultrasound may be a reliable but simpler alternative to intraoperative MR imaging (iMR imaging) for tumor resection control. However, its reliability in the detection of tumor remnants has not been definitely proven. The aim of the study was to compare high-field iMR imaging (1.5 T) and high-resolution 2D ultrasound in terms of tumor resection control.
A prospective comparative study of 26 consecutive patients was performed. The following parameters were compared: the existence of tumor remnants after presumed radical removal and the quality of the images. Tumor remnants were categorized as: detectable with both imaging modalities or visible only with 1 modality.
Tumor remnants were detected in 21 cases (80.8%) with iMR imaging. All large remnants were demonstrated with both modalities, and their image quality was good. Two-dimensional ultrasound was not as effective in detecting remnants < 1 cm. Two remnants detected with iMR imaging were missed by ultrasound. In 2 cases suspicious signals visible only on ultrasound images were misinterpreted as remnants but turned out to be a blood clot and peritumoral parenchyma. The average time for acquisition of an ultrasound image was 2 minutes, whereas that for an iMR image was ~ 10 minutes. Neither modality resulted in any procedure-related complications or morbidity.
Intraoperative MR imaging is more precise in detecting small tumor remnants than 2D ultrasound. Nevertheless, the latter may be used as a less expensive and less time-consuming alternative that provides almost real-time feedback information. Its accuracy is highest in case of more confined, deeply located remnants. In cases of more superficially located remnants, its role is more limited.