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Magn Reson Imaging. 1993;11(8):1155-64.

MRI-monitored cryosurgery in the rabbit brain.

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Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley 94720.


The inability to observe the transient, irregular shape of the frozen region that develops during cryosurgery has inhibited the application of this surgical technique to the treatment of tumors in the brain and deep in visceral organs. We used proton NMR spin-echo and spoiled gradient-echo imaging to monitor the development of frozen lesions during cryosurgery in the rabbit brain and the resulting postcryosurgical changes up to 4 hr after freezing. Spoiled gradient-echo images (TE = 14 ms; TR = 50 ms) were acquired during freezing and thawing at a rate of 15 s/slice. Although the frozen region itself is invisible in MR images, its presence is distinguished easily from the surrounding unfrozen soft tissue because of the large contrast difference between frozen and unfrozen regions. T2-weighted spin-echo images (TE = 100 ms, TR = 2 s) obtained after thawing suggest that edema forms first at the margin of the region that was frozen (cryolesion) and then moves into the region's core. Histological examination showed complete necrosis in the cryolesion and a sharp transition to undamaged tissue at the margin of the lesion and its image. Blood-brain barrier (BBB) damage was investigated using gadolinium-DTPA. The region of edema in the T2-weighted spin-echo images was coincident with the area of BBB damage in the Gd-DTPA-enhanced T1-weighted spin-echo images (TE = 33 ms, TR = 400 ms) and both were distinguishable as areas of high signal relative to the surrounding normal tissue. The results of these experiments indicate that MR can both effectively monitor the cryosurgical freezing and thawing cycle and characterize the postcryosurgical changes in tissue during follow-up.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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