Purpose: This study examined the complication rates associated with percutaneous fiducial placement for the purpose of stereotactic body radiation therapy of primary and metastatic lung neoplasms.
Patients and methods: This is a retrospective review of computed tomography (CT) scans and follow-up chest radiographs of 48 consecutive patients who underwent CT-guided percutaneous fiducial placement. The effect of age, sex, number of fiducials placed, and performance of a concomitant biopsy on the complication rates were assessed.
Results: Of 48 patients with a total of 221 fiducials placed, 16 (33%) had a procedure-related pneumothorax. There was no significant difference in pneumothorax rate based on age (P = 0.16), sex (P > 0.99), and number of fiducials placed (P = 0.21). Overall, 6 of 48 patients (12.5%) required a thoracostomy tube. Performance of a concomitant core needle biopsy at the time of fiducial placement was associated with pneumothorax rates of 64% compared with 26% without biopsies (P = 0.03). Postprocedural CT demonstrated hemorrhage in 9 patients (19%). Two patients had hemoptysis; one required admission. Patients' age, sex, number of fiducials placed, and performance of concomitant biopsy had no statistically significant implications on parenchymal hemorrhage incidence.
Conclusion: Approximately one third of the patients develop a pneumothorax during CT-guided fiducial placement. Most are asymptomatic and do not require a thoracostomy. A concurrent biopsy at the time of fiducial placement is associated with an increased risk of pneumothorax. Hemorrhage occurs but is usually clinically insignificant.