Comparison of stereotactic brain biopsy to interventional magnetic-resonance-imaging-guided brain biopsy

Walter A. Hall, Haiying Liu, Alastair J. Martin, Chip Truwit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Lesions with the brain are commonly sampled using stereotactic techniques. The advent of interventional magnetic resonance (MR) imaging now allows neurosurgeons to interactively investigate specific regions with exquisite visualization. We compared the safety and efficacy of this new surgical approach with stereotaxis. From February 1991 to June 1998, 134 stereotactic and 35 interventional MR-guided brain biopsies were performed. Stereotactic biopsies utilized preoperative scanning. Interactive scanning was used to confirm accurate positioning of the biopsy needle within the region of interest. Intraoperative pathologic examination of biopsy material was performed to verify the presence of diagnostic tissue in both biopsy groups. Intra- and postoperative MR imaging was obtained to exclude the presence of intraoperative hemorrhage. Recently, MR spectroscopic targeting has been utilized in 6 patients. In the stereotactic group, 129/134 (96%) biopsies were diagnostic. One patient had a transient hemiparesis after a brain stem biopsy and another suffered a fatal hemorrhage for a morbidity rate of 0.7% and a mortality rate of 0.7%. In reviewing 7,471 stereotactic biopsies, the morbidity was 3.5%, mortality 0.7% and diagnostic yield 91%. All 35 MR-guided brain biopsies were diagnostic (100%). MR spectroscopy was accurate in all cases in distinguishing recurrent tumor (5 cases) from radiation necrosis (1 case). One patient (3%) suffered a transient hemiparesis following a pontine biopsy and another patient (3%) developed a postoperative scalp cellulitis. No patient sustained a clinically or radiologically significant hemorrhage as determined by the immediate postbiopsy, intraoperative MR imaging. Interventional MR-guidedguided brain biopsy is a safe and effective technique for evaluating lesions of the brain with morbidity and mortality rates comparable to those of stereotaxis. MR-guided biopsy appears to have a higher diagnostic yield than stereotaxis, which may reflect the ability to perform interactive, intraoperative scanning with that technique. Copyright (C) 2000 S. Karger AG, Basel.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)148-153
Number of pages6
JournalStereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - May 2000


  • Interventional MRI
  • Intraoperative imaging
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Stereotactic surgery


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