Limited benefit of intraoperative low-field magnetic resonance imaging in craniopharyngioma surgery

Christopher Nimsky*, Oliver Ganslandt, Bernd Hofmann, Rudolf Fahlbusch, Edward R. Laws, James T. Rutka, Volker M. Tronnier

*Corresponding author for this work
36 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: To investigate the benefit of intraoperative low-field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in craniopharyngioma surgery. METHODS: We used a 0.2-T Magnetom Open scanner (Siemens Medical Solutions, Erlangen, Germany) that was located in a radiofrequency-shielded operating theater for intraoperative MRI. The head of the patient was placed in the fringe field of the scanner, so that standard microinstruments could be used. In transsphenoidal surgery, T1-weighted coronal and sagittal images were acquired. In transcranial surgery, a three-dimensional, gradient echo, T1-weighted, fast low-angle shot sequence was measured, thus allowing multiplanar reformatting. RESULTS: A total of 21 surgical procedures in craniopharyngioma patients were investigated. In 10 patients, a bifrontal-translaminar approach was used; in 6 patients, the craniopharyngioma was removed via a transsphenoidal approach; and in 5 patients, intraoperative MRI was used to monitor cyst puncture and aspiration. In the craniotomy group, intraoperative imaging depicted a clear tumor remnant in one patient, which was subsequently removed. In another patient, an area of contrast enhancement was interpreted as artifact; however, postoperative follow-up at 3 months was suspicious for a minor remnant. Two of the eight patients with complete removal developed a recurrence during the follow-up period. In the group of patients who underwent primary transsphenoidal surgery (n = 4), complete removal was estimated by the surgeon in three cases. Intraoperative imaging depicted a remaining tumor in one case, leading to further tumor removal; however, follow-up revealed recurrent cysts. CONCLUSION: Intraoperative low-field MRI allows an ultraearly evaluation of the extent of tumor removal in craniopharyngioma surgery in most cases. Imaging showing an incomplete resection offers the chance for further tumor removal during the same operation. However, intraoperative low-field MRI depicting a complete resection does not exclude craniopharyngioma recurrence.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)72-81
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 01.07.2003


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