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  • Author or Editor: Alexander M. Gorbach x
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Alexander M. Gorbach, John D. Heiss, Leonid Kopylev and Edward H. Oldfield

Object. Although clinical imaging defines the anatomical relationship between a brain tumor and the surrounding brain and neurological deficits indicate the neurophysiological consequences of the tumor, the effect of a brain tumor on vascular physiology is less clear.

Methods. An infrared camera was used to measure the temperature of the cortical surface before, during, and after removal of a mass in 34 patients (primary brain tumor in 21 patients, brain metastases in 10 and falx meningioma, cavernous angioma, and radiation necrosis—astrocytosis in one patient each). To establish the magnitude of the effect on blood flow induced by the tumor, the images were compared with those from a group of six patients who underwent temporal lobectomy for epilepsy. In four cases a cerebral artery was temporarily occluded during the course of the surgery and infrared emissions from the cortex before and after occlusion were compared to establish the relationship of local temperature to regional blood flow.

Discrete temperature gradients were associated with surgically verified lesions in all cases. Depending on the type of tumor, the cortex overlying the tumor was either colder or warmer than the surrounding cortex. Spatial reorganization of thermal gradients was observed after tumor resection. Temperature gradients of the cortex in patients with tumors exceeded those measured in the cortex of patients who underwent epilepsy surgery.

Conclusions. Brain tumors induce changes in cerebral blood flow (CBF) in the cortex, which can be made visible by performing infrared imaging during cranial surgery. A reduction in CBF beyond the tumor margin improves after removal of the lesion.

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Joseph C. Watson, Alexander M. Gorbach, Ryszard M. Pluta, Ramin Rak, John D. Heiss and Edward H. Oldfield

Object. Application of sensitive infrared imaging is ideally suited to observe blood vessels and blood flow in exposed organs, including the brain. Temporary vascular occlusion is an important part of neurosurgery, but the capacity to monitor the effects of these occlusions in real time is limited. In surgical procedures that require vascular manipulation, such as those involving aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), or tumors, the ability to visualize blood flow in vessels and their distribution beds would be beneficial. The authors recount their experience in the use of a sensitive (0.02°C), high-resolution (up to 50 µm/pixel) infrared camera with a rapid shutter speed (up to 2 msec/frame) for localizing cortical function intraoperatively. They observed high-resolution images of cerebral arteries and veins.

The authors hypothesized that infrared imaging of cerebral arteries, performed using a sensitive, high-resolution camera during surgery, would permit changes in arterial flow to be be seen immediately, thus providing real-time assessment of brain perfusion in the involved vascular territory.

Methods. Cynomolgus monkeys underwent extensive craniectomies, exposing the frontal, parietal, and temporal lobes. Temporary occlusions of the internal carotid artery and middle cerebral artery branches (30 events) were performed serially and were visualized with the aid of an infrared camera.

Arteries and veins of the monkey brain were clearly visualized due to cooling of the exposed brain, which contrasted with blood within the vessels that remained at core temperature. Blood flow changes in vessels were seen immediately (< 1 second) in real time during occlusion and reopening of the vessels, regardless of the duration of the occlusion. Areas of decreased cortical blood flow rapidly cooled (−0.3 to 1.3°C) and reheated in response to reperfusion. Rewarming occurred faster in arteries than in the cortex (for a 20-minute occlusion, the change in temperature per second was 2 × 10−2°C in the artery and 7 × 10−3°C in the brain). Collateral flow could be evaluated by intraoperative observations and data processing.

Conclusions. Use of high-resolution, digital infrared imaging permits real-time visualization of arterial flow. It has the potential to provide the surgeon with a means to assess collateral flow during temporary vessel occlusion and to visualize directly the flow in parent arteries or persistent filling of an aneurysm after clipping. During surgery for AVMs, the technique may provide a new way to assess arterial inflow, venous outflow, results of embolization, collateral flow, steal, and normal perfusion pressure breakthrough.