Advanced MRI techniques, such as MR spectroscopy, diffusion and perfusion MR imaging can give important in vivo physiological and metabolic information, complementing morphologic findings from conventional MRI in the clinical setting. Combining perfusion MRI and MR spectroscopy can help in patients with brain masses in who the pre-operative differential diagnosis is unclear. This review demonstrates the use of dynamic, susceptibility weighted, contrast-enhanced MR imaging (DSC MRI) and magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging (MRSI) to distinguish surgical from non-surgical lesions in the brain. There is overlap in the MRI appearance of many enhancing and ring-enhancing lesions such as gliomas, metastases, inflammatory lesions, demyelinating lesions, subacute ischemia, abscess and some AIDS related lesions. We review examples of histopathologically confirmed high-grade glioma, a middle cerebral artery territory infarct, a tumefactive demyelinating lesion and a metastasis for which conventional MR imaging (MRI) was non-specific and potentially misleading and demonstrate how DSC MRI and MRSI features were used to increase the specificity of neurodiagnosis. At several institutions, many patients routinely undergo MRI as well as MRSI and DSC MRI. Cerebral blood flow (CBF), mean transit time (MTT), and relative cerebral blood volume (rCBV) measurements are obtained from regions of maximal perfusion as determined from perfusion color overlay maps. Metabolite levels and ratios are determined for Choline (Cho), N-Acetyl Aspartate (NAA), Lactate and Lipids (LL). Metabolite levels are obtained by measuring the peak heights of each metabolite and the ratios are obtained from these measurements for Cho/Cr, Cho/NAA and NAA/Cr. Neurosurgical intervention carries substantial morbidity, mortality, financial and potential emotional cost to the patient and family. Making a pre-operative diagnosis allows the neurosurgeon to be confident in the choice of treatment plan for the patient and allays considerable patient anxiety. The utility of combining clinical findings with multi-parametric information from perfusion and spectroscopic MR imaging in differentiating surgical lesions from those which do not require surgical intervention is discussed.
- Perfusion MR Imaging
- Proton MR Spectroscopy (1H-MRS)
- Tumefactive demyelinating lesion
- High grade glioma
- Cerebral infarct