Advanced Brain Imaging

Washington Universitay physicians bring cutting-edge pre-operative and intraoperative brain mapping techniques to increase the precision and safety of neurosurgical procedures. 

Functional brain mapping

Preoperatively, Washington University is a world leader in advanced imaging techniques, such as resting state functional MRI, which allows surgeons to “see” critical areas of the brain when planning surgery. Washington University has also been a leader in awake craniotomies and pioneered numerous brain-mapping technologies, including intraoperative cortical stimulation mapping and cortical physiology. 

Fluorescence-guided surgery

New fluorescence imaging techniques allow surgeons to visualize the tumor itself during surgery through the microscope or endoscope. This enables more efficient tumor removal and higher rates of complete tumor removal. Fluorescence techniques we use include 5-ALA and Fluorescein.


We use neuronavigation (STEALTH)—“GPS” for the brain and spine—in many of our surgeries to tailor our approach to the individual, improve accuracy, and minimize incision size. Increasingly, we also use robotic guidance to improve accuracy in surgery.