Stereotactic biopsy

If a brain scan shows an unidentified mass or leasion (this can be a tumor), it usually needs a biopsy. During a biopsy the surgeon makes a small hole in the skull and guides a small needle into the tissue to take a sample. The sample is then examined to determine what kind of tumor it is and to determine the treatment options.

There are a couple of different biopsies: a stereotactic needle biopsy, a navigation-guided biopsy and an open biopsy. A stereotactic biopsy is also called 'frame based' because it uses a special frame to place the head in. Using the frame a special type of CT-scan is made to determine the exact location for the needle and the biopsy. This type of biopsy is used when the unknown tissue is located deep in the brain, but also during deep brain stimulation (DBS). For more information about natigation-guided biopsies or DBS, please click on the links at the bottom of this page. 

The procedure

A stereotactic biopsy can be performed under local or general anaesthesia. When it's used to test or stimulate certain areas of the brain, it's actually needed for the patient to be awake. The neurosurgeon makes a small incision in the skin and drills a small hole in the skull. A thin biopsy needle goes through the hole, exactly into the location of the unknown tissue or tumor. Several small pieces of tissue are obtained. Once the procedure is completed, the needle is withdrawn and the skin is closed using stitches.

The results

The tissue is sent to a pathologist and examined. The results can be expected within 10 working days. Depending on the results the treatment options can be discussed. 

Within UNCH Hagaziekenhuis is specialised in navigation-guided biopsies. 

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