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Acta Neurochir (Wien). 2013 Jun;155(6):973-80. doi: 10.1007/s00701-013-1647-7. Epub 2013 Mar 5.

Ultrasound imaging in neurosurgery: approaches to minimize surgically induced image artefacts for improved resection control.

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Department of Medical Technology, SINTEF, PO Box 4760, Sluppen, 7465, Trondheim, Norway.



Intraoperative ultrasound imaging is used in brain tumor surgery to identify tumor remnants. The ultrasound images may in some cases be more difficult to interpret in the later stages of the operation than in the beginning of the operation. The aim of this paper is to explain the causes of surgically induced ultrasound artefacts and how they can be recognized and reduced.


The theoretical reasons for artefacts are addressed and the impact of surgery is discussed. Different setups for ultrasound acquisition and different acoustic coupling fluids to fill up the resection cavity are evaluated with respect to improved image quality.


The enhancement artefact caused by differences in attenuation of the resection cavity fluid and the surrounding brain is the most dominating surgically induced ultrasound artefact. The influence of the artefact may be reduced by inserting ultrasound probes with small footprint into the resection cavity for a close-up view of the areas with suspected tumor remnants. A novel acoustic coupling fluid developed for use during ultrasound imaging in brain tumor surgery has the potential to reduce surgically induced ultrasound artefacts to a minimum.


Surgeons should be aware of artefacts in ultrasound images that may occur during brain tumor surgery. Techniques to identify and reduce image artefacts are useful and should be known to users of ultrasound in brain tumor surgery.

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