STEREROTACTIC BRAIN BIOPSY

WHAT IS A STEREOTACTIC BIOPSY?

Stereotactic brain biopsy

A stereotactic biopsy is a very precise method for sampling brain tissue (biopsy) through a small hole in the skull. The main objective is to determine the diagnosis of the tumour type or injury suffered by the patient. It does not offer a treatment, but depending on the results, an appropriate treatment program (craniotomy, radiotherapy, chemotherapy…) will be organised.

Stereotactic brain biopsy
 

WHEN IS A STEREOTACTIC BIOPSY NEEDED?

A stereotactic biopsy is especially useful to determine the exact nature of the lesion (tumour, infection, oedema, stroke) when it is necessary to empty the contents of a cyst or brain abscess, when lesions are multiple (to avoid performing several operations) or when it is unclear whether the tumour requires surgery or not, for some tumours can only be treated with radiotherapy.

WHAT HAPPENS DURING A STEREOTACTIC BIOPSY?

Calculation of coordinates in a stereotactic biopsy
To determine the exact point where the biopsy is to be carried out, using a sort-of helmet on which the coordinates of the lesion are calculated. The helmet is placed on the head by four bolts that are placed under local anaesthesia. Next, a CT scan or MRI will determine the exact coordinates in the three axes of space (x, y, z).
Calculation of coordinates in a stereotactic biopsy
 

Finally, the patient is taken into the operating theatre, where a small hole in the skull is made through which a special needle is inserted. It is with this needle that the sample is extracted.

Helmet for stereotactic biopsy
Brain tumour to be biopsied
Brain tumour biopsy
Helmet for stereotactic biopsy
Brain tumour to be biopsied
Brain tumour biopsy

Any possible complications are derived from a haemorrhage in the needle tract or an infection.

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