A stereotactic brain biopsy is a diagnostic procedure. It is performed to obtain brain tissue samples to check if there are tumors, infection, cancerous cells, or other abnormalities. This procedure is minimally invasive, utilizing imaging technology such as MRI or CT scans to safely and accurately access specific areas of the brain. The surgeon may prefer to use a stereotactic brain biopsy when there is more than one area of the brain that must be reached. The surgeon may also perform a stereotactic brain biopsy if the area in question is in a portion of the brain that is difficult and dangerous to access. This procedure is recommended for patients who can’t tolerate anesthesia, as it is performed under mild sedation.
The Stereotactic Brain Biopsy Procedure
The biopsy procedure starts with the patient’s head being carefully positioned and placed in a fixation device. The areas of the head that will be in contact with the device are numbed. A CT or MRI scan will be taken of the brain, using a computer to locate the exact location of the brain tissue needed for the biopsy. The patient may be given medication to provide light sedation or a topical anesthetic may be applied. A very small incision is made in the skin of the scalp. Special instruments are then used to drill a tiny hole in the exposed bone of the skull. Using the imaging scan’s 3D computer technology, the surgeon will guide the biopsy needle into the specific area of the brain and remove a tissue sample. Afterwards, the needle is carefully removed and the incision area sutured. The biopsy is typically completed within one hour. The brain tissue sample is then sent to a pathology laboratory for examination. The results of the stereotactic brain biopsy are usually available in a few days.
Recovery From Stereotactic Brain Biopsy
After the procedure, the patient may be monitored for a few hours. However, there will be no need to stay longer or overnight. A scan may be done to make sure there is no inflammation or bleeding at the biopsy site. The patient can return home and resume their daily schedule on the same day. Some people may have headaches the next day; this is usually nothing to worry about. The headaches can be easily treated with over-the-counter medication.
Risks Of Stereotactic Brain Biopsy
Complications resulting from a stereotactic brain biopsy are rare, but all surgical procedures carry some form of risk. Risks of a stereotactic brain biopsy may include:
- Bleeding in the brain
If the results of the stereotactic brain biopsy are inconclusive, another biopsy may need to be performed.