When a cancerous tumor grows in the brain, it can occur in all sorts of odd shapes and sizes. The goal of removing a tumor during surgery is to remove as many known cancerous cells as possible. In other parts of the body where tumors grow, surgeons often remove tissue around a tumor as well as the tumor itself to increase the chances that all known cancerous tissue is removed. In the brain, doing so can affect brain function.
“Intraoperative MRI” means that while your child is undergoing surgery, he or she also is undergoing a magnetic resonance imaging scan that maps the brain in real time. Using intraoperative MRI helps surgeons pinpoint the location of tumors and lesions, which has several benefits:
- Some tumors previously considered inoperable can be surgically removed.
- Post-operative treatment, such as radiation and chemotherapy, are more effective when more of the cancerous cells have been removed.
- Patients may be able to go a longer period of time without a tumor recurrence, or may not have a tumor recurrence at all.