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Brain Biopsy

What Is a Brain Biopsy?

A biopsy of a brain is a procedure that takes a sample of brain tissue to determine if a tumor in the brain is benign or cancerous. A biopsy can also determine the type of tumor. The brain tumor biopsy procedure can be done as an open biopsy or stereotactic brain biopsy, which uses a small needle to extract the tissue. 

Who Performs a Brain Biopsy?

Your neurosurgeon will perform the brain biopsy to obtain tissue. 

What Happens Before the Procedure?

Before the brain tumor biopsy or brain lesion biopsy procedure, your neurosurgeon will conduct an imaging test to show where the tumor or lesion is located. After looking at the tumor or lesion, your neurosurgeon will decide whether to perform an open biopsy, to remove the brain tumor or a stereotactic biopsy to get a tissue sample.

Are You Awake During a Brain Biopsy?

Brain biopsies are usually performed under general anesthesia. This means you are not awake during a brain biopsy in most cases.     

What Happens During the Procedure?

The location of the tumor will determine the type of biopsy performed. If the tumor is in a sensitive, hard to reach area, your neurosurgeon may use a stereotactic needle brain biopsy compared to an open biopsy. During the procedure, your neurosurgeon will drill a small hole from where they want to take the tissue sample. Once the biopsy is obtained, the sample is viewed by the pathologists to determine the diagnosis. 

Recovery After the Tumor Biopsy

While biopsies are less invasive than other procedures, it’s important to rest and be aware of potential brain biopsy risks. Risks that may accompany a biopsy can include swelling, seizures, blood clots and more. Contact your doctor immediately if you are experiencing any trouble after a biopsy procedure.