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In removing a cancerous tumor from the body, it is generally a good practice to remove some of the surrounding tissue to insure that most of the cancerous cells have been cleared out.

However, when dealing with a brain tumor we need to be especially careful about what surrounding tissue is removed as it could have a significant impact on a patient’s memory, motor functions, language skills, memory – any of the myriad activities that the brain controls.

Understanding How Your Brain Functions

This is the next level of brain imaging. It assists and advances our understanding of the patient’s disease process and provides us with the safest treatment planning for patients.
– Neurosurgeon Dr. Terence Chen, M.D.

With a functional MRI (fMRI), John Muir Health has the capability to detect processes in the brain as they occur. Knowing not only where the tumor is but its potential impact on key brain functionality provides us with a much more in-depth view of the disease and what we need to do to treat it properly without impairing important brain activity.

Using our highly advanced 3T MRI scanner, we can fuse a perfusion scan, which tracks blood flow within the brain, with the fMRI and an anatomical view of the brain to give us a very sophisticated image that precisely pinpoints the malignant tumor.

The results of the fMRI are often reviewed and discussed by a diverse team of neurosurgeons, neuroradiologists, neuropsycholgists, oncologists, and other medical experts during our weekly consultative tumor boards. They come up with recommendations for treatment that are tailored specifically to your condition.

Functional MRI is just one of the ways John Muir Health is quick to implement advances made in the laboratory directly into our practice. We are already examining how fMRI can be helpful in the treatment of patients with dementia.

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