Stereotactic surgery in the management of brain abscess

Surg Neurol. 1999 Oct;52(4):404-10; discussion 411. doi: 10.1016/s0090-3019(99)00118-4.


Background: Bacterial brain abscesses can be diagnosed and treated with stereotactic aspiration.

Methods: From 1991 to 1997 we have used computed tomography-guided stereotactic aspiration to diagnose and treat 21 patients with a total of 58 bacterial brain abscesses. The ages of the patients ranged from 4 to 72 years (median 25 years); 11 of these 21 patients had multiple abscesses. The number of abscesses per patient with multiple abscesses ranged from 2 to 9, all located deep in subcortical white matter.

Results: All patients underwent stereotactic surgical drainage and an 8-week intravenous antibiotic medical treatment. Of the 58 abscesses, 23 were aspirated. Of these 23 abscesses, 19 were radiologically stage III or IV and four were stage I or II. Pathological examination confirmed radiological staging in 19 patients (83%). Except for the three patients who have mild residual hemiparesis and one patient recovering from ataxia, all patients had complete neurological recovery.

Conclusions: Computed tomography-guided stereotaxy achieved all the objectives of management; namely, ascertaining the diagnosis, draining the content of the mass, and obtaining pus for accurate bacteriological diagnosis without morbidity. Stereotactic aspiration combined with an 8-week intravenous antibiotic regimen has yielded an effective therapeutic result in all of our abscesses, small or large, solitary or multiple, superficial or deep-seated. A high radiological-pathological correlation was also deduced from this study.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brain Abscess / diagnosis*
  • Brain Abscess / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain Abscess / pathology
  • Brain Abscess / surgery*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Stereotaxic Techniques*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed