Date Published:2013 Aug 1
Patients with brain tumors provide a unique opportunity to understand functional brain plasticity. Using advanced imaging techniques, such as functional MRI and diffusion tensor imaging, we have gained tremendous knowledge of brain tumor behavior, transformation, infiltration and destruction of nearby structures. Using these advanced techniques as an adjunct with more proven techniques, such as direct cortical stimulation, intraoperative navigation and advanced microsurgical techniques, we now are able to better formulate safer resection trajectories, perform larger resections at reduced risk and better counsel patients and their families about possible complications. Brain mapping in patients with brain tumors and other lesions has shown us that the old idea of fixed function of the adult cerebral cortex is not entirely true. Improving care for patients with brain lesions in the future will depend on better understanding of the functional organization and plasticity of the adult brain. Advanced noninvasive brain imaging will undoubtedly play a role in advancing this understanding.