AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 2, 2017

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Mayo Clinic-Invented Technologies Show Brain Tumor Firmness, Adhesion Before Surgery

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It is not often that a fall saves someone’s life. Helen Powell, 74, says that was the case for her. A computerized tomography (CT) scan that followed her fall revealed a cancerous brain tumor that led her to Mayo Clinic and surgery using first-in-the-world technology. Brain magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) imaging, showed the precise firmness of her tumor. New slip interface imaging further revealed how attached the tumor was to normal brain tissue — even before starting surgery. The imaging techniques, invented and available only at Mayo Clinic, show whether the tumor is soft and can be removed easily, or if it is firm, making surgery more challenging and time consuming. “Brain magnetic resonance elastography and slip interface imaging help avoid surprises in surgery that could lead to complications for the patient,” says Jamie Van Gompel, MD, a neurosurgeon at Mayo Clinic. “Once in surgery, we may find a tumor is stiffer than expected and will take more time to remove than we had planned, or alternatively, we may find the tumor to be more adherent to brain than anticipated, raising the risk of a complication from that surgery.

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