(WYTV) – Just as we use our GPS to find the best route to a destination, neurosurgeons have begun using maps to find the best way to operate on your brain.

Using imaging, such as MRI, doctors determine the areas of your brain that control vision, language and movement, making surgery more precise and preserving those brain functions.

To map the brain, the doctor gives the patient instructions on a monitor while the patient is in the scanner.

“A simple task is ‘I want you to open and close your hand every time you see the word “go” on the computer screen,’ and that maps the hand motor system,” said Dr. Lesli Baxter, a doctor of neuropsychology at the Mayo Clinic.

If it’s a vision task, the patient looks at something during the MRI. If it’s a language task, it’s reading words on a screen or listening to audio.

Doctors watch the MRI during these tasks and make a map of the brain where it’s all happening, and that map of the brain is priceless.