Techniques for stereotactic brain biopsy have evolved in parallel with the imaging modalities used to visualize the brain.
OBJECTIVE: To describe our technique for performing stereotactic brain biopsy using a compact, low-field, intraoperative magnetic resonance imager (iMRI).
METHODS: Thirty-three patients underwent stereotactic brain biopsies with the PoleStar N-20 iMRI system (Medtronic Navigation, Louisville, Colorado). Preoperative iMRI scans were obtained for biopsy target identification and trajectory planning. A skull-mounted device (Navigus, Medtronic Navigation) was used to guide an MRI-compatible cannula to the target. An intraoperative image was acquired to confirm accurate cannula placement within the lesion. Serial images were obtained to track cannula movement and to rule out hemorrhage. Frozen sections were obtained in all but 1 patient with a brain abscess.
RESULTS: Diagnostic tissue was obtained in 32 of 33 patients. In all cases, imaging demonstrated cannula placement within the lesion. Histological diagnoses included 22 primary brain tumors and 10 nonneoplastic lesions. In 61% of the cases, initial trajectory was corrected on the basis of the intraoperative scans. In 1 patient, biopsy was nondiagnostic despite accurate cannula placement. No patient suffered a clinically or radiographically significant hemorrhage during or after surgery. There were no intraoperative complications.
CONCLUSION: Stereotactic biopsy with a low-field iMRI is an accurate way to obtain specimens with a high diagnostic yield. This accuracy, combined with the acceptable additional procedural time, may obviate the need for frozen section. The ability to correct biopsy cannula placement during surgery eliminates the chance of misdiagnosis because of faulty targeting, as well as the risks associated with inconclusive frozen sections and ‘‘blind’’ replacement of the cannula.