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This is a technique use to map out vital areas of the brain which are responsible for functions like movement, sensation, vision, and speech/language. During this exam, the patient is asked to do different activities (like moving fingers or solving the word puzzle etc.) while the scanner is taking pictures of the brain. This allows special MRI technique to detect the area of brain that is active while doing that specific activity. fMRI plays a key role in presurgical planning for brain tumors and epilepsy patients.
Though these techniques are relatively established in adults, they come with several unique challenges in pediatric patients. To tailor these examination techniques for the children, we have modified and created simpler language paradigms. Also for younger patients (typically < 5 yrs) or developmentally delayed patients who cannot undergo MRI without sedation, we offer sensory-motor mapping under moderate sedation with passive movement of the fingers/toes and resting state fMRI. An additional advantage of our set up is that preliminary maps of brain activation are displayed in real time to assess patient response and quality control.
Children's Wisconsin's imaging department was re-designated as a Diagnostic Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology. Our imaging department was the third children's hospital in the nation to receive this prestigious credential.