Nonlinear deformation of tractography in ultrasound-guided low-grade gliomas resection



In brain tumor surgeries, maximum removal of cancerous tissue without compromising normal brain functions can improve the patient’s survival rate and therapeutic benefits. To achieve this, diffusion MRI and intra-operative ultrasound (iUS) can be highly instrumental. While diffusion MRI allows the visualization of white matter tracts and helps define the resection plan to best preserve the eloquent areas, iUS can effectively track the brain shift after craniotomy that often renders the pre-surgical plan invalid, ensuring the accuracy and safety of the intervention. Unfortunately, brain shift correction using iUS and automatic registration has never been shown for brain tractography so far despite its rising significance in brain tumor resection.


We employed a correlation-ratio-based nonlinear registration algorithm to account for brain shift through MRI–iUS registration and used the recovered deformations to warp both the brain anatomy and tractography seen in pre-surgical plans. The overall technique was demonstrated retrospectively on four patients who underwent iUS-guided low-grade brain gliomas resection.


Through qualitative and quantitative evaluations, the preoperative MRI and iUS scans were well realigned after nonlinear registration, and the deformed brain tumor volumes and white matter tracts showed large displacements away from the pre-surgical plans.


We are the first to demonstrate the technique to track nonlinear deformation of brain tractography using real clinical MRI and iUS data, and the results confirm the need for updating white matter tracts due to tissue shift during surgery.

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Change history

  • 01 February 2018

    The author would like to include grant number of NSERC Discovery grant in the acknowledgement section of the original article.


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This project was partly funded by NSERC Discovery Grant and the Norwegian National Advisory Unit for Ultrasound and Image-Guided Therapy. The authors thank Dr. Maryse Fortin for her generous help in identifying the anatomical landmarks.

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Correspondence to Yiming Xiao.

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Yiming Xiao, Live Eikenes, Ingerid Reinertsen, and Hassan Rivaz declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Informed consent was obtained from all participants included in the study.

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Xiao, Y., Eikenes, L., Reinertsen, I. et al. Nonlinear deformation of tractography in ultrasound-guided low-grade gliomas resection. Int J CARS 13, 457–467 (2018).

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  • Intra-operative ultrasound
  • MRI
  • Brain tumor
  • Registration
  • Tractography
  • Neurosurgery
  • Brain shift