Magnetic Resonance (MR) Spectroscopy and Perfusion

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Overview

Magnetic Resonance (MR) spectroscopy and perfusion is a noninvasive diagnostic test for measuring biochemical changes and blood flow in specific parts of the brain. This test differs from MRI, which detects anatomical changes in the brain but often cannot distinguish the biochemical make-up of the tumor mass.

How does MR spectroscopy and perfusion  work?

MR spectroscopy is conducted on the same machine as conventional MRI. MR spectroscopy measures chemical signals in the brain to determine the presence of an active tumor in the brain versus scar tissue caused by radiation (radiation necrosis).

Perfusion checks the blood flow to certain areas of the brain.  Many tumors have increased blood supply to them, while areas of scar tissue (radiation necrosis) have decreased blood supply.

MR spectroscopy analyzes different metabolites, or products of metabolism, that can be measured:

•    Amino acids
•    Lipid
•    Lactate
•    Alanine
•    N-acetyl aspartate
•    Choline
•    Creatine
•    Myoinositol

The quantities of these metabolites are shown in a graph form.  A neuroradiologist evaluates these graphs and determines which metabolites are present and in what amounts.

What does MR spectroscopy and perfusion show?

MR spectroscopy and perfusion can be used:

•    To identify different types of tumors
•    To determine different types of tumor grades
•    To distinguish between radiation necrosis and recurrent tumor

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