Complications of MRI-guided stereotactic biopsy of brain lymphoma.

OBJECTIVES: Stereotactic biopsy is a suitable method for sampling intrinsic brain lesions. Although this method is considered to be a safe procedure, some risk of complications still exists. The aim of the study was to retrospectively assess the morbidity and mortality of MRI-guided stereotactic biopsy of lesions which were histologically proven to be brain lymphoma.

METHODS: We retrospectively studied all accessible medical records for patients who had undergone MRI-guided stereotactic biopsy of brain lesions with histologically proven brain lymphoma from January 2007 to December 2012. Our cohort included 45 patients, 27 males and 18 females, aged 23-84 (63±14) years.

RESULTS: Forty-nine biopsies were carried out on 45 patients; the average number of tissue specimens was 3±1. The diagnostic yield of the stereotactic biopsy was 92%. Overall major morbidity directly related to stereotactic biopsy of brain lymphoma was 6.1% (3 cases) including 4.1% mortality (2 cases). Both deaths after the stereotactic procedure were due to intracranial hemorrhage and subsequent complications and both these patients had a history of treatment of systemic lymphomas. In one patient the stereotactic biopsy was complicated by a brain abscess which was successfully treated.

CONCLUSION: Stereotactic biopsy is still a mandatory diagnostic procedure for primary brain lymphomas, with an acceptable risk of complications. However, according to our results, the risk of complications can be higher in patients who have previously been treated for secondary lymphomas.

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