Tractography and the connectome in neurosurgical treatment of gliomas: The premise, the progress, and the potential

Fraser Henderson, Kalil G. Abdullah, Ragini Verma, Steven Brem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


The ability of diffusion tensor MRI to detect the preferential diffusion of water in cerebral white matter tracts enables neurosurgeons to noninvasively visualize the relationship of lesions to functional neural pathways. Although viewed as a research tool in its infancy, diffusion tractography has evolved into a neurosurgical tool with applications in glioma surgery that are enhanced by evolutions in crossing fiber visualization, edema correction, and automated tract identification. In this paper the current literature supporting the use of tractography in brain tumor surgery is summarized, highlighting important clinical studies on the application of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) for preoperative planning of glioma resection, and risk assessment to analyze postoperative outcomes. The key methods of tractography in current practice and crucial white matter fiber bundles are summarized. After a review of the physical basis of DTI and post-DTI tractography, the authors discuss the methodologies with which to adapt DT image processing for surgical planning, as well as the potential of connectomic imaging to facilitate a network approach to oncofunctional optimization in glioma surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E6
JournalNeurosurgical focus
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020


  • Connectomics
  • DTI
  • Diffusion tensor imaging
  • Fiber tractography
  • Glioma surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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