Transcerebellar stereotactic biopsy for lesions of the brainstem and peduncles under local anesthesia

Department of Neurological Surgery, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California CA 94143-0112, USA.
Neurosurgery (Impact Factor: 3.62). 10/2008; 63(3):460-6; discussion 466-8. DOI: 10.1227/01.NEU.0000324731.68843.74
Source: PubMed


For certain brainstem lesions, a diagnostic biopsy is required for treatment planning. We reviewed the indications, safety, and diagnostic effectiveness of a transcerebellar stereotactic biopsy using local anesthesia and sedation.
We retrospectively reviewed hospital records for all adult patients with symptomatic lesions of the pons and/or cerebellar peduncle who underwent an awake transcerebellar stereotactic biopsy at our institution over a 7-year period. Our technique features several modifications from the standard method and was performed under local anesthesia with patients in the semi-sitting position.
Our rate of diagnostic success (92%) was comparable to those in other published reports. However, only 5 (42%) of 12 biopsy-derived diagnoses were consistent with those predicted from preoperative magnetic resonance imaging. There were no deaths, and the only neurological complication was a cranial nerve palsy. Diagnoses in the 13 cases included infiltrative glioma (), metastases (), lymphoma (), encephalitis (), and reactive astrogliosis ().
Tissue diagnosis of lesions in the brainstem and cerebellar peduncles continues to be a significant challenge, with the potential for major morbidity. With appropriate patient selection, however, awake transcerebellar biopsy is a safe and effective procedure that can change clinical management and provide important prognostic information.

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    • "Currently, stereotactic brain biopsy is the least invasive method to obtain brain tissue [1-4], especially from lesions that are deep-seated [2,5-7] or located in vitally important intracranial regions such as the brainstem [5,6,8-10]. Three different approaches to the brainstem have been described in people: the transtentorial, transfrontal and suboccipital transcerebellar route [11-13]. Since traversing the tentorium might cause pain and/or hemorrhage at the pial surfaces of the cerebellum or mesencephalon [9,11] and potentially damage vital blood vessels and cranial nerve nuclei, the transtentorial route is no longer used [11]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Anatomical differences between humans and domestic mammals preclude the use of reported stereotactic approaches to the brainstem in animals. In animals, brainstem biopsies are required both for histopathological diagnosis of neurological disorders and for research purposes. Sheep are used as a translational model for various types of brain disease and therefore a species-specific approach needs to be developed. The aim of the present study was to establish a minimally invasive, accurate and reproducible stereotactic approach to the brainstem of sheep, using the magnetic resonance imaging guided BrainsightTM frameless stereotactic system.ResultsA transoccipital transcerebellar approach with an entry point in the occipital bone above the vermis between the transverse sinus and the external occipital protuberance was chosen. This approach provided access to the target site in all heads. The overall mean needle placement error was 1.85¿±¿1.22 mm.Conclusions The developed transoccipital transcerebellar route is short, provides accurate access to the ovine caudal cranial fossa and is a promising approach to be assessed further in live animals.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2014 · BMC Veterinary Research
    • "In the present series, a twist drill craniostomy has been utilized in most of the cases for performing STB. Many authors utilize a burr hole for performing a STB for a brainstem lesion,[3134] while some series describe the use of twist drill cranisotomy for STB.[835] Sanai et al. have reported that the majority of their patients underwent STB using a large twist drill craniostomy in their series.[36] Burr hole may provide placement of a pial incision under vision and may help in avoiding a sulcal entry. "
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    ABSTRACT: Stereotactic biopsy of brainstem lesions have been performed with varying indications, with most of the literature reporting on children. The present study retrospectively analyzed all cases that underwent stereotactic biopsy for brainstem lesion in both adult and pediatric population between 1994 and 2009 in a single tertiary neurosurgical center. The clinical and radiological features, technique of the procedure, morbidity, diagnostic accuracy, spectrum of diagnosis, and variations in adult and pediatric population were analyzed. Eighty-two patients were included in the study. Computed tomography (CT) was used as guidance in 73 (38 children and 35 adults) patients and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in 9 (3 children and 6 adults). The biopsy was performed in a procedure room under local anesthesia in most adults, while children required sedation. Glioblastoma comprised 29.3% of all pathologies in children, compared with only 4.9% of the pathologies in adult population (P = 0.007). Tuberculosis was the next major diagnosis (9.8%). In 12 patients, initial biopsy was inconclusive. Following a repeat biopsy in 5 of these patients, a diagnosis was possible for 75/82 (91.5%) patients by STB. The location of the target, the choice of entry, the radiological characteristic of the lesion, enhancement pattern, and age group did not significantly correlate with the occurrence of inconclusive biopsy. Permanent complications occurred in two patients (2.4%). There was no mortality in this series. Stereotactic biopsy has an important role in brainstem lesions, more significantly in adults, due to wider pathological spectrum. It can be performed safely under local anesthesia through a twist drill craniostomy in most of the adults.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2014
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    ABSTRACT: Brainstem gliomas have been increasingly understood in the last two decades and they are nowadays regarded as an heterogeneous group of tumors with tendency towards the pediatric age, where they account for 10-20% of brain neoplasms. Besides the well known diffuse tumor, several subtypes, with a different biological behaviour, amenable to surgical resection and better prognosis, have been identified, giving rise to many classifications and terms. In the other way, attention has been recently paid to adult brainstem gliomas in contrast to pediatric tumors. Based on a review of the literature, we describe the different subtypes of brainstem gliomas, with particular interest on therapeutic approaches and differences between pediatric and adult tumors, employing iconography from our series.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2004 · Neurocirugia (Asturias, Spain)
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