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J Neurooncol. 2005 Jun;73(2):173-9.

Frame-based stereotactic biopsy remains an important diagnostic tool with distinct advantages over frameless stereotactic biopsy.

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Department of Neurological Surgery, Brain Tumor Research Center, University of California at San Francisco, 505 Parnassus Avenue, 94143-0112 San Francisco, California, USA.



As the availability of image-guided surgical navigation systems has increased, the application of frame-based biopsy has declined at our institution, despite equivalent accuracy and safety. There are several cost issues separating the use of surgical navigation systems and stereotactic frames for simple biopsy which may have implications in this era of health care cost control. We retrospectively reviewed the UCSF experience with stereotactic brain biopsy from a 9 year period.


Data were collected for 213 consecutive stereotactic brain biopsies performed at UCSF (139 frame-based and 74 frameless). There were no significant differences between the frame-based and frameless biopsy groups with regard to patient demographics, overall histopathology, proportion of nondiagnostic biopsies, or incidence of complications. General anesthesia was used for 9 (6%) and 70 (95%) of the frame-based and frameless biopsy cases, respectively. Frame-based biopsies required a mean of 114+/-3 min of operating room time, while frameless biopsies required 185+/-6 min (P<0.0001). For patients admitted to our neurosurgery service who underwent frame-based (n=110) or frameless (n=52) biopsy within 24 h of admission, the mean lengths of hospital stay were 1.8+/-0.2 and 3.2+/-0.6 days, respectively (P=0.007).


Frame-based and frameless stereotactic biopsy approaches were equally effective at providing a tissue diagnosis with minimum morbidity and mortality. The frame-based approach, however, required significantly less anesthesia resources, less operating room time and shorter hospital stays, and thus should still be considered a first-line approach for stereotactic brain biopsy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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