Percutaneous CT-guided skull biopsy: Feasibility, safety, and diagnostic yield

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BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Although percutaneous musculoskeletal biopsies are routinely performed in the axial and appendicular skeleton, there are no published data on the systematic evaluation of the feasibility, safety, and diagnostic accuracy of percutaneous skull biopsy. In certain clinical encounters such as patients with primary skull tumors or patients with known cancer and isolated skull lesions suspected of calvarial metastasis or synchronous primary tumor, percutaneous skull biopsy may be considered a viable option. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the feasibility, safety profile, and diagnostic yield of percutaneous CT-guided skull biopsy. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Percutaneous CT-guided skull biopsy was performed in 14 patients. Patient demographics, cancer history, indication for initial imaging, imaging technique of diagnosis, skull tumor anatomic location, and final histologic diagnosis were documented. Preprocedural imaging of each skull lesion was reviewed to determine tumor size and characteristics. Procedural notes were reviewed to determine the total conscious sedation time or anesthesia time, type of biopsy needle, and the number and length of obtained core specimens. Procedure-related complications were also documented according to the Society of Interventional Radiology classification. RESULTS: All CT-guided percutaneous skull biopsy procedures were performed as preoperatively planned and were technically successful. Procedures were performed with the patient under conscious sedation in 93% (13/14) of cases. Definitive histologic diagnosis was achieved in 86% (12/14) of cases. There were no acute or delayed procedure-related complications. CONCLUSIONS: The results of this retrospective initial study suggest that percutaneous CT-guided skull biopsy is feasible with an excellent safety profile, affords a high diagnostic yield for histologic characterization, and may obviate more invasive open skull biopsies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-312
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019


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