7T versus 3T MRI in the presurgical evaluation of patients with drug-resistant epilepsy

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of neuroimaging : official journal of the American Society of Neuroimaging








epilepsy surgery; focal cortical dysplasia; focal epilepsy; magnetic resonance imaging; mesial temporal lobe sclerosis


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: MRI has a crucial role in presurgical evaluation of drug-resistant focal epilepsy patients. Whether and how much 7T MRI further improves presurgical diagnosis compared to standard of care 3T MRI remains to be established. We investigate the added value 7T MRI offers in surgical candidates with remaining clinical uncertainty after 3T MRI. METHODS: 7T brain MRI was obtained on sequential patients with drug-resistant focal epilepsy undergoing presurgical evaluation at a comprehensive epilepsy center, including patients with and without suspected lesions on standard 3T MRI. Clinical information and 3T images informed the interpretation of 7T images. Detection of a new lesion on 7T or better characterization of a suspected lesion was considered to add value to the presurgical workup. RESULTS: Interpretable 7T MRI was acquired in 19 patients. 7T MRI identified a lesion relevant to the seizures in three of eight patients (38%) without a lesion on 3T MRI; no lesion in 7/11 patients (64%) with at least one suspected lesion on 3T MRI, contributing to the final classification of all seven as nonlesional; and confirmed and better characterized the lesion suspected at 3T MR in the remaining 4/11 patients. CONCLUSIONS: 7T MRI detected new lesions in over a third of 3T MRI nonlesional patients, confirmed and better characterized a 3T suspected lesion in one third of patients, and helped exclude a 3T suspected lesion in the remainder. Our initial experience suggests that 7T MRI adds value to surgical planning by improving detection and characterization of suspected brain lesions in drug-resistant focal epilepsy patients.