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Johan Michiels, Hilde Bosmans, Bart Nuttin, Michael Knauth, Rudi Verbeeck, Dirk Vandermeulen, Guy Wilms, Guy Marchal, Paul Suetens and Jan Gybels

✓ The authors discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the use of magnetic resonance (MR) angiography images in stereotactic neurosurgery. Current computer programs designed to assist the neurosurgeon in the planning of stereotactic neurosurgical interventions use intraarterial digital subtraction angiography images to visualize the blood vessels. Magnetic resonance angiography is a recent technique with a number of advantages over the digital subtraction method: it is less invasive and less prone to complications; it provides truly three-dimensional data sets that can be viewed from any direction; and it can visualize both stationary and flowing tissues with the same imaging device and localizer frame. Although digital subtraction images are still superior in contrast and vascular detail, state-of-the-art high-resolution MR angiography sequences provide sufficient vascular detail for planning surgery. Contrast-enhanced MR angiography images were acquired using adapted gradient-echo sequences to compensate for flow-induced distortions; postacquisition distortion correction was not necessary. Five methods to integrate and inspect a possible trajectory in the MR angiography data are discussed. Initial clinical experience with eight patients led to the conclusion that MR angiography is a valuable imaging modality that can be integrated reliably into a stereotactic neurosurgery planning procedure.

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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.