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University Hospital brings fMRI technology to mid-Mo.

Nathanial Braton-Bradford

University Hospital is mid-Missouri’s first hospital to have functional MRI technology. The fMRI will allow doctors to be more precise when treating brain tumors.

The new software was added to an MRI machine the hospital bought earlier this year. A spokesperson said the set-up costs $1.7 million. The School of Medicine’s Chief of Neurosurgery Scott Litofsky said fMRIs have been around for a couple of decades in scientific research, but the focus on patient care is relatively new.

“We can see exactly what parts of the brain are involved with a number of different types of brain function," Litofsky said.

Andrew Crum said he had a brain tumor on the edge of his motor skills area.

Crum is a farmer, and said without his motor movement, he would not be able to work. By detecting differences in blood oxygenation and flow in the brain, the functional MRI told his doctor exactly how much of Crum’s tumor they could remove without impairing any of the "eloquent areas" of his brain.

“It helped them to know where and where not they could cut," Crum said. "If they cut too deep right there within just a little you couldn’t use your right side because your left side of the brain controls the right side, and this told them a lot closer where they could go.”

Crum said he has five more treatments of radiation before doctors can tell him if the tumor is completely gone. MU physicians use the fMRI at the hospital’s new Missouri Neurosciences Center.

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