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Neurosurgical applications of tractography in the UK

Toescu, SM; Hales, PW; Tisdall, MM; Aquilina, K; Clark, CA; (2020) Neurosurgical applications of tractography in the UK. British Journal of Neurosurgery 10.1080/02688697.2020.1849542. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Introduction: Tractography derived from diffusion MRI can provide important insights into human brain microstructure in vivo. Neurosurgeons were quick to adopt the technique at the turn of the century, but it remains plagued by technical fallibilities. This study aims to describe how tractography is deployed clinically in a modern-day, public healthcare system, serving as a snapshot from the ‘shop floor’ of British neurosurgical practice. Methods: An 11-question survey was circulated to the mailing lists of the Society of British Neurological Surgeons and British Neurosurgical Trainees’ Association, including questions on frequency, indication, tracts reconstructed, specific details of techniques used and personnel by whom it was performed, and a free-text section on the limitations of tractography. Results: 58 survey responses were received, covering all 40 neurosurgical units in the UK and Ireland. Overall, responses were received from neurosurgeons at 36 units (90.0%) stating tractography was in use at that unit. 74.1% of the responses were from Consultants. The most common indication for tractography was in tumour resection. It was most commonly performed by neuroradiologists or imaging scientists. 75.9% of respondents stated that the model used to process tractography was the diffusion tensor (DTI). Many respondents were unaware of which algorithm (74.1%) or software tools (65.6%) were used by the operator to produce tractography visualisations. The corticospinal tract was the most commonly reconstructed tract. The most commonly cited limitations of the technique were perceived inaccuracy and brain shift. Conclusions: In this UK-based survey of practising neurosurgeons, we show that 90% of neurosurgical units in the UK and Ireland use tractography regularly; that predominantly DTI-based reconstructions are used; that tumour resection remains the most frequent use of the technique; and that large tracts such as the corticospinal tract are most frequently identified. Many neurosurgeons remain unfamiliar with the underlying methods used to produce tractography visualisations.

Type: Article
Title: Neurosurgical applications of tractography in the UK
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/02688697.2020.1849542
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02688697.2020.1849542
Language: English
Additional information: © 2020 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
Keywords: Clinical Neurology, Surgery, Neurosciences & Neurology, MR tractography, diffusion tensor imaging, diffusion weighted imaging, image-guided surgery
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health > Developmental Neurosciences Dept
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10118228
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