Neurosurg Rev (2013) 36:205–214
Historically, brain tumour resection has relied upon standardised anatomical atlases and classical mapping techniques for successful resection. While these have provided adequate results in the past, the emergence of new technologies has heralded a wave of less invasive, patient-specific techniques for the mapping of brain function.
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and, more recently, diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) are two such techniques. While fMRI is able to highlight localisation of function within the cortex, DTI represents the only technique able to elucidate white matter structures in vivo. Used in conjunction, both of these techniques provide important presurgical information for thorough preoperative planning, as well as intraoperatively via integration into frameless stereotactic neuronavigational systems.
Together, these techniques show great promise for improved neurosurgical outcomes. While further research is required for more widespread clinical validity and acceptance, results from the literature provide a clear road map for future research and development to cement these techniques into the clinical setup of neurosurgical departments globally.