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Many critical functionally distinct subcortical structures are not distinguishable on anatomical magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. In order to provide the neurosurgeon with this missing information, a deformable volumetric atlas of the basal ganglia and thalamus has been created from the Schaltenbrand and Wahren atlas of cryogenic slices. The volumetric atlas can be automatically deformed to an individual patient's MRI. To facilitate the clinical use of the atlas, a visualization platform has been developed for preoperative and intraoperative use which permits manipulation of the merged atlas and MRI data sets in two- and three-dimensional views. The platform includes graphical tools which allow the visualization of projections of a leukotome and other surgical tools with respect to the atlas data, as well as preregistered images from any other imaging modality. In addition, a graphical interface has been designed to create custom virtual lesions using computer models of neurosurgical tools for intraoperative planning. To date this system has been employed as an adjunct to over 30 functional neurosurgical cases including surgery for movement disorders.
Date of Publication: Oct. 1998