A stereotactic biopsy involves making a hole in the skull in order to take one or more small pieces of tumour for evaluation under the microscope (pathology). This procedure is done using advanced surgical navigation systems (stereotaxy), and sometimes involves the application of a stereotactic frame. Generally it takes a few days for a diagnosis to be confirmed, and there is a small risk of a “non-diagnostic biopsy” which may necessitate a further procedure.
Once the diagnosis is confirmed, a decision can be made about what further treatment is necessary, and in some cases this may involve a larger operation to remove the remainder of the tumour.
Compared with other neurosurgical procedures, a stereotactic biopsy carries relatively low risks. It is, however, a serious procedure and there is a small risk of bleeding, stroke, seizures, and even death. Your neurosurgeon should discuss these risks in detail with you before surgery is carried out.