Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of the brain reduces the need for invasive testing of seizure disorder patients being considered for surgical treatment, according to a study published in the July issue of the journal Radiology.
"fMRI gives the surgical team an important roadmap of the brain function without contrast injections or invasive tests," said the studys lead author, L. Santiago Medina, M.D., M.P.H., co-director of neuroradiology and director of the Health Outcomes, Policy and Economics Center at Miami Childrens Hospital. "This imaging technology is a powerful tool that improves surgical decision making in patients being considered for seizure surgery."
Dr. Medinas study evaluated the effect of fMRI results on the diagnostic work-up and treatment planning of 60 consecutive seizure disorder patients, including 33 male and 27 female patients. The fMRI findings helped five patients avoid additional surgery and altered the extent of surgery in four others.
When the medical team reviewed functional MR images of the brain, they significantly changed the patients diagnostic and treatment plans," said neurologist Byron Bernal, M.D., co-author of the study. "With fMRI, the physician, patient and family have more information about important critical areas of brain function, helping them make more informed decisions."
Of the studys 60 patients, 32 were not candidates for surgery or refused surgical treatment. Of the 28 patients who proceeded with surgery, 17 were seizure-free following the resection, and eight had a 50 percent to 90 percent reduction in seizures. Three of the surgical patients experienced less than a 50 percent reduction in seizures at six-month follow-up.
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