Stereotactic brain biopsy: Single center retrospective analysis of complications

Clin Neurol Neurosurg. 2009 Dec;111(10):835-9. doi: 10.1016/j.clineuro.2009.08.013. Epub 2009 Sep 17.


Objective: Stereotactic biopsy is a widely used surgical technique for the histological diagnosis of intracranial lesions. Potential risks of this procedure, such as hemorrhage, seizure, and infection have been established, and different risk factors have been characterized. However, these risks have been addressed by only few studies conducted in Asian countries.

Materials and methods: The study group is comprised of 299 consecutive stereotactic biopsy procedures by 11 neurosurgeons between 2004 and 2007. The pre-operative medical conditions, methods of biopsy and postoperative complications were analyzed.

Result: The overall diagnostic yield was 90.64%. Complications were observed in 7.36% of the cases, with symptomatic hemorrhages occurring in 4.35% of the cases, and the overall mortality rate in this study population was 1.34%. Patients with liver cirrhosis were at a higher risk of hemorrhage. Other clinical, radiological, or histological variables were not associated with an increased risk of complications.

Conclusion: Stereotactic brain biopsy is a safe and reliable way to obtain a histological diagnosis. Based on our recent clinical experiences, the data suggests that more attention should be paid to liver cirrhotic patients, since the chance on hemorrhage is significantly larger.

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy / adverse effects*
  • Biopsy / mortality
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Brain Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain Diseases / pathology*
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Hemorrhages / etiology
  • Intracranial Hemorrhages / pathology
  • Liver Cirrhosis / complications
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurosurgical Procedures
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Stereotaxic Techniques*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Treatment Outcome