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Volker M. Tronnier, Matteo M. Bonsanto, Andreas Staubert, Michael Knauth, Stefan Kunze and Christian R. Wirtz


The authors undertook a study to compare two intraoperative imaging modalities, low-field magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and a prototype of a three-dimensional (3D)–navigated ultrasonography in terms of imaging quality in lesion detection and intraoperative resection control.


Low-field MR imaging was used for intraoperative resection control and update of navigational data in 101 patients with supratentorial gliomas. Thirty-five patients with different lesions underwent surgery in which the prototype of a 3D-navigated ultrasonography system was used. A prospective comparative study of both intraoperative imaging modalities was initiated with the first seven cases presented here.

In 35 patients (70%) in whom ultrasonography was performed, accurate tumor delineation was demonstrated prior to tumor resection. In the remaining 30% comparison of preoperative MR imaging data and ultrasonography data allowed sufficient anatomical localization to be achieved. Detection of metastases and high-grade gliomas and intra-operative delineation of tumor remnants were comparable between both imaging modalities. In one case of a low-grade glioma better visibility was achieved with ultrasonography. However, intraoperative findings after resection were still difficult to interpret with ultrasonography alone most likely due to the beginning of a learning curve.


Based on these preliminary results, intraoperative MR imaging remains superior to intraoperative ultrasonography in terms of resection control in glioma surgery. Nevertheless, the different features (different planes of slices, any-plane slicing, and creation of a 3D volume and matching of images) of this new ultrasonography system make this tool a very attractive alternative. The intended study of both imaging modalities will hopefully allow a comparison regarding sensitivity and specificity of intraoperative tumor remnant detection, as well as cost effectiveness.