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Epilepsy Res. 2011 Nov;97(1-2):124-32. doi: 10.1016/j.eplepsyres.2011.07.019. Epub 2011 Sep 1.

Diffusion tensor imaging tractography of the optic radiation for epilepsy surgical planning: a comparison of two methods.

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  • 1Epilepsy Society MRI Unit, Departmental of Clinical and Experimental Epilepsy, UCL Institute of Neurology, Queen Square, London, WC1N 3BG, England, UK.


The optic radiation is a key white matter structure at risk during epilepsy surgery involving the temporal, parietal or occipital lobes. It shows considerable anatomical variability, cannot be delineated on clinical MRI sequences and damage may cause a disabling visual field deficit. Diffusion tensor imaging tractography allows non-invasive mapping of this pathway. Numerous methods have been published but direct comparison is difficult as patient, acquisition and analysis parameters differ. Two methods for delineating the optic radiation were applied to 6 healthy controls and 4 patients with epileptogenic lesions near the optic radiation. By comparing methods with the same datasets, many of the parameters could be controlled. The first method was previously developed to accurately identify Meyer's loop for planning anterior temporal lobe resection. The second aimed to address limitations of this method by using a more automated technique to reduce operator time and to depict the entire optic radiation. Whilst the core of the tract was common to both methods, there was significant variability between the methods. Method 1 gave a more consistent depiction of Meyer's loop with fewer spurious tracts. Method 2 gave a better depiction of the entire optic radiation, particularly in more posterior portions, but did not identify Meyer's loop in one patient. These results show that whilst tractography is a promising technique, there is significant variability depending on the method chosen even when the majority of parameters are fixed. Different methods may need to be chosen for surgical planning depending on the individual clinical situation.

Crown Copyright © 2011. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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