Brain Mapping Can Help Improve Quality of Life After Neurosurgery

If you’re a patient facing neurosurgery, brain mapping could be an important part of your treatment plan.

“When it comes to neurosurgery, we aim to maximize post-operative outcomes by minimizing post-operative cognitive changes,” says Fadi Tayim, Ph.D., Director of the Brain Mapping Center at the Clinical Neuroscience Institute (CNSI), part of Premier Physician Network. “Brain mapping is the way to do that.”

“Brain mapping refers to a combination of tests and procedures that I perform to map out the functions of your brain,” Dr. Tayim explains. “Mapping consists of neurocognitive assessment, the intracarotid sodium amobarbital procedure (called the “Wada”), intra- and extra-operative cortical brain mapping, and functional MRI, which, unlike structural MRIs, shows us how brain regions are functioning in real-time.”

“The results from these brain mapping tests and procedures are used to safely and effectively guide neurosurgery,” Dr. Tayim says.  “Brain mapping allows us to confirm which parts of the brain perform which functions,” Dr. Tayim says.

Patients with brain tumors are most often in need of brain mapping. However, it’s also used for patients with epilepsy and patients with movement disorders who may be candidates for deep brain stimulation surgery.

Limited Availability

Because brain mapping is such a specialized, multidisciplinary process, it’s not widely available.

“We are the first brain mapping center in the Midwest here at the Clinical Neuroscience Institute,” Dr. Tayim says. “There are only about 50 hospitals in the U.S. who have the necessary personnel, expertise, and resources for comprehensive brain mapping services.”

The providers at the Brain Mapping Center at Premier Health are specially trained to conduct all the necessary brain mapping procedures and take it a step further by integrating your care in different ways.

“Our team includes neurosurgeons, neurologists, neuropsychologists, neuroradiologists, and neurointerventionists, to ensure that we focus on all aspects of the patient,” he says. “Each of the core team members is a specialist in that area. Each discipline works together, ultimately guiding us to the best neurosurgical decisions for our patient.”

Uses For Brain Tumors

When it comes to brain tumors (neuro-oncology), brain mapping is used to help surgeons differentiate between treatments that would cause permanent damage versus treatment that would allow for a higher quality of life, says Ania Pollack, MD, a fellowship-trained neuro-oncologist and Director of the Neuro-Oncology Program with the Clinical Neuroscience Institute. “From the data we obtain from brain mapping, we can predict what function may be affected by the tumor and understand a little more what the tumor does to the brain itself, and what potential risks surgery may bring.”

Dr. Tayim explains, “My role is to determine where brain functions are located, how brain functions are affected by the presence of a tumor or other lesion before surgery, and then to perform brain mapping procedures to minimize potential cognitive changes after surgery.”

Using brain mapping before neurosurgeries, your care team can help to ensure you can regain the quality of life you’re hoping for following the surgery.

“It’s an involved process, but one that helps ensure that patients live the most maximal life possible,” he says.

To learn more about brain mapping, talk to your doctor or health care provider or search for a provider.

Click play to watch the video or read video transcript.