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The diagnosis of the source of a brain disorder has become infinitely more precise with the modern technology of computerized tomography (CT scan) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Either of these scans shows several views of the brain and the presence of a tumor, excessive fluid build-up, or intracranial bleeding. They also provide the means for precise measurement of the depth of the growth and its angle from various landmarks on the skull. This enables the neurosurgeon to use a stereotactic frame to guide his instruments precisely to the site of the lesion.

The CT or MRI image shows a cross section of the brain at a certain level. Each exposure is slightly advanced from the previous one. In all, the images appear to be slices of the brain that show various details at each level. The computer control also allows the images to be combined to form a three-dimensional image so the physician can see the tumor or damaged area of the brain in relation to the complete structure. In this way he can decide whether the patient is a candidate for surgery or whether the tumor or other lesion is not accessible. The image also gives a good idea of whether the tumor is a cancerous lesion or is benign.

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