The brain is made up of a system of axons, or nerve fibers, through which brain cells communicate with each other. Axons link together to form cable-like structures, called tracts.
Tracts contain millions of nerve connections and make up the white matter of the brain.
Individual tracts of the brain are responsible for such functions as speech, memory, and left- and right-sided movement.
With high definition fiber tracking (HDFT), UPMC neurosurgeons can visualize 40 different brain tracts with clarity and accuracy.
HDFT is groundbreaking imaging technology, developed at the University of Pittsburgh, that makes the connections in the brain visible to the human eye.
It allows surgeons to view the detailed wiring of a person’s brain fibers to determine the best way for removing brain tumors, while preserving brain function and promoting recovery.
Moving beyond the black-and-white 2D images created by MRI scans, HDFT technology shows a 3D image of the brain filled with thin, brightly colored strands. These brightly colored strands correspond to the different functions of the brain's major fiber tracts.
With HDFT, our neurosurgeons can:
Current techniques for brain imaging (CT, MRI, and DTI) can only visualize or detect between 5 and 30 percent of the damage caused by traumatic brain injury.
UPMC neurosurgeons are at the forefront of developing many ways for using High Definition Fiber Tracking including: