What is the role of brain biopsy in the workup of brain metastasis?

Updated: Aug 01, 2018
  • Author: Victor Tse, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Nicholas Lorenzo, MD, MHA, CPE  more...
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Tissue diagnosis should be performed in cases of uncertain etiology. Of note, most surgeons advocate excision biopsy for a solitary lesion in an accessible area of the brain.

For stereotactic brain biopsy, the morbidity rate is 3% with a 1% rate of hemorrhage and a 1% rate of deficit without hemorrhage. The mortality rate is 3%.

In the past, the morbidity rate associated with tumor resection was 20%, and mortality rate was 2%. With recent advances in intraoperative navigation, the morbidity and mortality rates of excisional biopsy have been reduced to 10% and 0.5-2%, respectively, which are still higher than the rates with biopsy alone.

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