18 Dec 2014

New use for thermal imaging in neurosurgery

AVM: A congenital tangle of blood
vessels which can cause bleeding, pain
or other serious medical problems
Image: vascularrneuro.com
How do we tell when surgery to remove a cerebral arteriovenous malformation (AVM) has been successful? Normally it requires invasive angiography to image the blood vessels supplying the AVM. Associate Professor Peter Hwang and Dr Phil Lewis (Department of Surgery), working with Dr Jerome Maller (MAPRc), wondered whether the abnormally high blood flow through the AVM might be causing reduced blood flow and therefore lower temperature in structures fed by the same blood vessels. 

The main vessels feeding each hemisphere are the carotid arteries, which also supply blood to the eyes. The investigators found that in one patient, eye temperature on the side of the AVM was lower than the other, and this temperature difference disappeared after surgical removal of the AVM. They now plan to see if eye temperature difference can be used as a surrogate measure of AVM size or flow, and whether a resolution of eye temperature difference could be useful as an adjunct marker of the success of AVM treatment.

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