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Recent advances in the field of sterotactic neurosurgery have made it possible to coregister preoperative computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance (MR) images with instrument locations in the operating field. However, accounting for intraoperative movement of brain tissue remains a challenging problem. While intraoperative CT and MR scanners record concurrent tissue motion, there is motivation to develop methodologies which would be significantly lower in cost and more widely available. The approach the authors present is a computational model of brain tissue deformation that could be used in conjunction with a limited amount of concurrently obtained operative data to estimate subsurface tissue motion. Specifically, the authors report on the initial development of a finite element model of brain tissue adapted from consolidation theory. Validations of the computational mathematics in two and three dimensions are shown with errors of 1%-2% for the discretizations used. Experience with the computational strategy for estimating surgically induced brain tissue motion in vivo is also presented. While the predicted tissue displacements differ from measured values by about 15%, they suggest that exploiting a physics-based computational framework for updating preoperative imaging databases during the course of surgery has considerable merit. However, additional model and computational developments are needed before this approach can become a clinical reality.
Date of Publication: Feb. 1999