Brain biopsy in benign neurological disease

J Neurol. 2012 May;259(5):995-1000. doi: 10.1007/s00415-012-6455-0. Epub 2012 Feb 24.


Brain biopsy is well established in clinical practice when there is suspicion of CNS malignancy. However, there is little consensus regarding the indications for brain biopsy in non-malignant neurological disease. This is due in no small part to limitations in the available literature pertaining to diagnostic brain biopsies. The published evidence largely comprises small, retrospective, single-centre analyses performed over long time periods, including non-homogeneous patient groups with considerable variation in reported outcomes. Here we present pragmatic guidance for those clinicians considering diagnostic brain biopsy in a patient with non-neoplastic neurological disease and highlight practice points with the aim of maximising the probability of gaining clinically useful information from the procedure.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Algorithms
  • Biopsy / adverse effects
  • Biopsy / methods*
  • Biopsy / standards
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nervous System Diseases / classification
  • Nervous System Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors