Magnetic resonance diffusion tensor imaging of the optic nerves to guide treatment of pediatric suprasellar tumors

Michael B. Salmela, Keith A. Cauley, Trevor Andrews, Jay V. Gonyea, Izabela Tarasiewicz, Christopher G. Filippi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Background/Aims: As a preoperative planning tool, conventional magnetic resonance (MR) imaging may have limited value in differentiating tumors from white matter tracts. MR diffusion tensor imaging (MRDTI) has become a useful tool for evaluating white matter tracts in relation to surrounding structures and has been used in surgical planning for brain tumors involving white matter. We investigated the use of DTI of the optic nerves in surgical planning for pediatric suprasellar tumors. Methods: We present findings in 10 pediatric control patients and 2 cases of pediatric suprasellar tumors in which a routine 6-direction DTI of the brain was performed at 3 T. Postprocessing permitted the study of the diffusion tensor parameters, as well as the tractography, of the optic nerves. Results: The control patients demonstrated the optimization of the technique and permitted the quantitation of fractional anisotropy and apparent diffusion coefficient values. The tumor cases demonstrated the utility of optic nerve DTI to differentiate between optic nerves and suprasellar/chiasmatic brain tumors. Conclusions: A routine 6-direction DTI of the pediatric brain at 3 T permits a detailed DTI study of the optic nerves. Optic nerve tractography can be used to aid in the evaluation and treatment of pediatric brain tumors in the area of the optic chiasm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)467-471
Number of pages5
JournalPediatric Neurosurgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Magnetic resonance diffusion tensor imaging
  • Optic nerve
  • Suprasellar tumor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Surgery


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