A biopsy is the removal of a small piece of brain tissue for the diagnosis of abnormalities of the brain, e.g. tumours.
The stereotactic brain biopsy is a kind of stereotactic neurosurgery involves mapping the brain in a three dimensional coordinate system. With the help of MRI and CT scans and 3D computer workstations, neurosurgeons are able to accurately target any area of the brain in stereotactic space (3D coordinate system). This technology is a minimally invasive procedure to obtain samples of brain tissue.
The main indications for stereotactic biopsy are deep-seated lesions, multiple lesions, or lesions in a surgically poor candidate who cannot tolerate anaesthesia.
On the morning of surgery a head ring is placed on the patient. This involves numbing the skin in four areas and placing the ring on the head with four pins. A CT scan is then performed.
In the operating room, the patient receives light sedation. An incision only a few millimetres long is made in the scalp and a small hole is drilled into the skull. A thin biopsy needle is inserted into the brain using the coordinates obtained by the computer workstation. The specimen is then sent to the pathologist for evaluation. Patients are monitored for several hours following the procedure and usually go home the same day.