A new application of ultrasound-magnetic resonance multimodal fusion virtual navigation in glioma surgery

Chaofeng Liang, Manting Li, Jin Gong, Baoyu Zhang, Cong Lin, Haiyong He, Ke Zhang, Ying Guo


Background: Long-term survival and high-quality life of patients with gliomas depends on the extent of resection (EOR) and the protection of functional white matter fibers. The navigation system provides precise positioning for surgery based on preoperative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) but the precision decreases when intraoperative brain drift occurs. Ultrasound (US) can support real-time imaging and correct brain shift. The real-time US-MRI multimodal fusion virtual navigation system (UMNS) is a new technique for glioma surgery. In order to obtain a maximum EOR and functional protection, this study aimed to explore the feasibility, efficiency, and safety of real-time UMNS for glioma surgery, and to evaluate the benefit of the new application by UMNS presetting markers between the tumor and functional white matter fiber surgery.
Methods: A retrospective analysis included 45 patients who underwent glioma surgery, 19 patients with only intraoperative US, and 26 patients with UMNS. A preoperative plan was made by 3D-slicer software based on preoperative MRI. This was combined with a reconstruction of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) that designed the important locations as “warning points” between functional white matter fibers and tumor. Following patient registration, markers were injected into preset “warning points” under image-guided UMNS in order to give us a warning during surgery in case of postoperative function deficits. The operating time, volumetric assessment in glioma resection, and postoperative complications were evaluated and used to compared those surgeries using intraoperative US (iUS) with those surgeries using intraoperate MRI (iMRI) navigation.
Results: A total of 45 patients underwent glioma surgery. Gross total removal (GTR) of iUS alone was achieved in 6 of 19 cases, while this was achieved in 22 of 26 cases with UMNS alone, demonstrating an improvement in rate of GTR from 31.58% to 84.62%, respectively. This may be attributable to the superior US image quality provided by UMNS. In 13 of 26 cases, there was improved image quality (from poor/ moderate to moderate/good) with the aid of UMNS. In addition, the consistency of EOR of postoperative MRI evaluated by UMNS (92.31%) was higher than when using iUS alone (42.11%). The whole process of intraoperative scanning time and marker injection did not lead to a significant delay of the operating time compared to using iUS alone, and has been reported to be shorter than with iMRI as well. Furthermore, the percentage of postoperative morbidity in the UMNS group was lower than that in the iUS group (motor deficit: 11.54% vs. 42.11%; aphasia: P =3.85% vs. 31.58%, respectively).
Conclusions: Real-time UMNS is an effective, timesaving technology that offers high quality intraoperative imaging. Injection markers between functional white matter fibers and tumor by UMNS can help to obtain a maximum EOR of glioma and functional protection postoperatively. The integration of iUS into the neuronavigation system offered quick and helpful intra-operative images.