Neurosurgical resection represents an important treatment option in the modern, multimodal therapy approach of brain metastases (BM). Guidelines for perioperative imaging exist for primary brain tumors to guide postsurgical treatment. Optimal perioperative imaging of BM patients is so far a matter of debate as no structured guidelines exist.
A comprehensive questionnaire about perioperative imaging was designed by the European Association of Neuro-Oncology (EANO) Youngsters Committee. The survey was distributed to physicians via the EANO network to perform a descriptive overview on the current habits and their variability on perioperative imaging. Chi square test was used for dichotomous variables.
One hundred twenty physicians worldwide responded to the survey. MRI was the preferred preoperative imaging method (93.3%). Overall 106/120 (88.3%) physicians performed postsurgical imaging routinely including MRI alone (62/120 [51.7%]), postoperative CT (29/120 [24.2%]) and MRI + CT (15/120 [12.5%]). No correlation of postsurgical MRI utilization in academic vs. non-academic hospitals (58/89 [65.2%] vs. 19/31 [61.3%], p = 0.698) was found. Early postoperative MRI within ≤72 h after resection is obtained by 60.8% of the participants. The most frequent reason for postsurgical imaging was to evaluate the extent of tumor resection (73/120 [60.8%]). In case of residual tumor, 32/120 (26.7%) participants indicated to adjust radiotherapy, 34/120 (28.3%) to consider re-surgery to achieve complete resection and 8/120 (6.7%) to evaluate both.
MRI was the preferred imaging method in the preoperative setting. In the postoperative course, imaging modalities and timing showed high variability. International guidelines for perioperative imaging with special focus on postoperative MRI to assess residual tumor are warranted to optimize standardized management and adjuvant treatment decisions for BM patients.