Brain Mapping

The brain is the most complicated organ in our body. Every area has a specific function that controls everything that we do. For years, doctors have had a rough map of the brain, but never to the degree that they could operate and know for sure how to avoid every critical portion since each persons brain is unique, causing variations in the map. This fact, combined with the sheer complexity of the brain, has challenged neurosurgeons for years.

Through groundbreaking research pioneered at UCSF, an advanced brain mapping technique has enabled doctors to remove as much of a brain tumor as possible while minimizing the impact on the crucial areas of the brain that control movement, speech and the senses.

By using 3-dimensional imaging technology to operate on the brain, surgeons can accurately target their dissection down to the smallest degree. The goal is to remove all or most of the tumor without producing any permanent neurological deficit in the patient.

Minimize Impact on Healthy Tissue

During the surgery, the patient is awake for a portion of the surgical procedure to help surgeons with an understanding of the functional areas of the brain near the tumor. This allows doctors to map out their path to a successful surgery while minimizing impact on healthy, vital tissue.

The patient is allowed to return to consciousness after the brain has been exposed, and then interacts with the team as they stimulate areas of the brain near the tumor.

For example, the neurosurgeon may stimulate the brain where it controls feelings in the mouth and gums, causing the patient to experience tingling or tongue twitching. Language testing is also performed.

Once the areas of the eloquent cortex have been identified, the patient is put back under general anesthesia and the surgery is completed.

Brain mapping is also being used to treat other diseases such as epilepsy.

For more information, please contact the Brain Tumor or Neurosurgery clinics.

 

Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Medical Center.

Related Information

How to Reach Us

Please contact the Neuro-Oncology Clinic at (415) 353-2966.

UCSF Clinics & Centers

Neurology and Neurosurgery

Brain Tumor Center
400 Parnassus Ave., Eighth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94143
Phone: (415) 353-2966
Fax: (415) 353-2167

Neurosurgery
400 Parnassus Ave., Eighth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94143
Phone: (415) 353-7500
Fax: (415) 353-2889

Condition Information

Patient Experiences

  • Jennifer Alden
    Actress with Brain Tumor Benefits from Brain-Sparing Surgery Technique

Our Experts

Mitchel Berger
Dr. Mitchel Berger,
neurosurgeon
Edward Chang
Dr. Edward Chang,
neurosurgeon
Heidi Kirsch
Dr. Heidi Kirsch,
neurologist and epilepsy specialist