University of Cincinnati study finds needle biopsies safe in 'eloquent' areas of brain

Jun 03, 2009

After a review of 284 cases, specialists at the Brain Tumor Center at the University of Cincinnati (UC) Neuroscience Institute have concluded that performing a stereotactic needle biopsy in an area of the brain associated with language or other important functions carries no greater risk than a similar biopsy in a less critical area of the brain.

The retrospective study, led by Christopher McPherson, MD, director of the division of surgical neuro-oncology at UC and a Mayfield Clinic neurosurgeon, was published online in May in the Journal of Neurosurgery. The abstract can be accessed at http://thejns.org/doi/abs/10.3171/2009.3.JNS081695.

The UC study compared the complication rates of stereotactic biopsies in functional, or "eloquent," areas of the brain that were associated with language, vision, and mobility to areas that were not associated with critical functions. Eloquent areas included the brainstem, basal ganglia, corpus callosum, , thalamus, and . Complications were defined as the worsening of existing neurological deficits, seizures, brain hemorrhaging and death.

"Needle biopsies in eloquent areas have generally been acknowledged to be safe, because the needle causes only a small amount of disruption to the brain," McPherson explains. "But until now, researchers had not actually documented that biopsies in eloquent areas were as safe as those in non-eloquent areas."

To make that comparison, McPherson's team studied records of 284 stereotactic needle biopsies performed by 19 Mayfield Clinic neurosurgeons between January 2000 and December 2006. In the 160 biopsies that involved eloquent areas of the brain, complications occurred in nine cases (5.6 percent of the total). In the 124 biopsies that involved non-eloquent areas, complications occurred in 10 cases (8.1 percent). The difference was not statistically significant.

Overall, 19 of the 284 patients, or 6.7 percent, suffered complications. Thirteen of those patients recovered completely or somewhat from their complications, while six (2.1 percent of the total number of patients biopsied) experienced permanent neurological decline.

"Diagnosing and treating always carries risk," McPherson says. "Within that context, the results of this large sampling of biopsies are encouraging overall and reinforce our belief that stereotactic biopsy is a valuable diagnostic tool. Stereotactic biopsy is a safe way for us to remove a tissue sample for the diagnosis of a brain tumor, even when the tumor is in a challenging and dangerous part of the brain."

Source: University of Cincinnati (news : web)

Explore further: New research supporting stroke rehabilitation

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New fMRI technology making brain tumor surgery safer

Feb 28, 2007

Brain specialists at The Neuroscience Institute at University Hospital and the University of Cincinnati have taken a significant step forward in their quest to treat difficult tumors while preserving areas of the brain that ...

11-gauge needle better than 14-gauge in breast biopsy

Feb 02, 2009

Stereotactic vacuum-assisted breast needle biopsy, a common minimally invasive biopsy method used in the US, is more effective with an 11-gauge needle than the 14-gauge needle decreasing a physician's chances of false-negative ...

Routine testing after aneurysm coiling carries low risk

Nov 18, 2008

A very low risk of complication is associated with a routine test that determines whether a brain aneurysm treated with endovascular coiling has started to recur, a study led by the University of Cincinnati Neuroscience Institute ...

Recommended for you

'Trigger' for stress processes discovered in the brain

3 hours ago

At the Center for Brain Research at the MedUni Vienna an important factor for stress has been identified in collaboration with the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm (Sweden). This is the protein secretagogin ...

New research supporting stroke rehabilitation

Nov 26, 2014

Using world-leading research methods, the team of Dr David Wright and Prof Paul Holmes, working with Dr Jacqueline Williams from the Victoria University in Melbourne, studied activity in an area of the brain ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.