Operating a brain surgery is harder than one can possibly imagine. Surgeons have a very limited view of the surface of the organ, and when it comes to what lies hidden inside of that organ, they usually have no view. So, they often have to conduct the surgery in the dark, continuously changing their target and risky areas they must avoid. However, there’s a new method that might make conducting a brain surgery a little bit easier and less risky. In cooperation with the University of Strasbourg, researchers at the University of Luxembourg have developed a method that involves using MRI data to create a map of the brain in Lego-like blocks.
Predicting the injury before operating
The research was lead by Stéphane Bordas, a professor of computational mechanics at the University of Luxembourg. The team developed a mathematical model and numerical algorithm, which can help surgeons predict the condition of the brain injury before they start any operation. It lets them virtually practice any operation before they crack open a skull in real life.
Lego-like blocks to model the brain
Our brain is a composite material, made up of gray matter, white matter, and fluids. So, the scientists used data from the MRI to construe the brain’s architecture into sub-volumes, just like the Lego blocks, color-coded to represent gray, white or fluid. This color-coded “digital Lego brain” is made up of thousands of Lego-like blocks, which a surgeon can use to determine the nature of the brain injuries. The more blocks are used to model the brain, the more flawless the simulation.
The research was published in “IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering.” The method could reduce the risk of death during brain surgery. The researchers also hope that eventually, this Lego map will serve the surgeons with real-time data during operations.