Neuroimaging at UMass Memorial Medical Center focuses on imaging of adult and pediatric brain, spine and neck disorders. Our subspecialty trained radiologists use state of the art imaging technology to diagnose neurological disorders. The division has an active collaboration with clinical sections to enhance patient treatment.
The division offers both structural and functional imaging of the brain.
- Structural - Looks at the physical structure of neural structures and delineate the vascular supply when needed.
- Functional – here the focus is on the functioning of the brain.
Radiologists Who Specialize in Neuroimaging
Our neuroimaging specialists are radiologists with additional training in imaging of brain and rest of the nervous system. They perform thousands of studies each year – a level of experience that no other hospital in Central Massachusetts can offer.
The Brain Conditions We Help Diagnose
Neuroimaging is a vital tool in diagnosing and assessing wide variety of conditions affecting the brain and nervous system, including:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Stroke (ischemic and hemorrhagic)
- Brain and spinal tumors
- Brain aneurysms
- Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs)
- Movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease
- Degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s disease
- Seizure disorders such as epilepsy
Imaging of nervous system at UMass Memorial
Neuroimaging uses different technologies to produce images of the brain and rest of the nervous system:
- CAT scan (computed tomography) – The department is equipped with state-of-the-art CT scanners including a dual-source (which uses two X-ray sources instead of one) Ct scanner which help in obtaining high-resolution images of the nervous system.
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) – MRI produces detailed images of the nervous system and is the mainstay for diagnosis of neural disorders. There are six 1.5 T magnets and one 3T magnet in the UMass Memorial system for clinical work. There is a 3T magnet dedicated for research on the University Campus of our Medical Center.
- Vascular imaging – both CT and MRI can be used for high resolution non-invasive imaging of the vascular system. CT angiogram is our mainstay to diagnose occluded vessels with stroke.
- Perfusion studies – this functional method shows how much blood supply is present in the brain and how quickly it is moving. This technique offers information which helps us to diagnose and make therapeutic decision in stroke and brain tumors;
- fMRI (functional MRI) – Measures brain activity by detecting changes in blood flow (when an area of the brain is active, blood flow to that region increases); BOLD (blood oxygenation level dependent imaging) is the technique used to generate images in fMRI. This helps in making surgical decisions with tumors and epilepsy.
- MR diffusion tractography – Traces brain nerve fibers; it helps to improve the accuracy of brain surgery planning and advance our understanding of how the brain works
- Lumbar puncture/myelograms – the division offers image guided lumbar punctures. For patients in whom MRI is contraindicated, the section offers CT myelogram following administration of CT dye into the spine under image guidance.
UMass Memorial Medical Center is a stroke center. Neuroimaging is at the core of stroke diagnosis and helps in making therapeutic decision for these patients. The section offers head CT and CT arteriogram as soon as the patient gets to the hospital and an immediate image interpretation. Whenever needed, we offer additional imaging like CT perfusion and MRI.