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Neuronavigation in endoscopic skull base surgery and the accuracy of different MRI sequences.

OBJECTIVE: Neuronavigation is common technology used by skull base teams when performing endoscopic endonasal surgery. A common practice of MRI imagining is to obtain 3D isotopic gadolinium enhanced T1W magnetisation prepared rapid gradient echo (MPRAGE) sequences. These are prone to distortion when undertaken on 3 T magnets. The aim of this project is to compare the in vivo accuracy of MRI sequences between current and new high resolution 3D sequences. The goal is to determine if geometric distortion significantly affects neuronavigation accuracy.

METHODS: Patients were scanned with a 3D T1 MPRAGE sequence, 3D T1 SPACE sequence and a CT stereotactic localisation. Following general anaesthesia, patients were registered on the Stealth Station (Medtronic, USA) using a side mount emitter for Electromagnetic navigation. A variety of surgically relevant anatomical landmarks in the sagittal and coronal plane were selected with real and virtual data points measured.

RESULTS: A total of 10 patients agreed be enrolled in the study with datapoints collected during surgery. The distance between real and virtual datapoints trended to be lower in SPACE sequences compared to MPRAGE. Paired t test did not demonstrate a significant difference.

CONCLUSION: We have demonstrated that navigational accuracy is not significantly affected by the type of MRI sequence selected and that current corrective algorithms are sufficient. Navigational accuracy is affected by many factors, with registration error likely playing the most significant role. Further research involving real time imaging such as endoscopic ultrasound may hopefully address this potential error.

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