In 100 recent CT-guided brain biopsies, the value of intraoperative histologic examination using frozen section technique was evaluated. In 87 of these cases, the biopsy was performed stereotactically. In the remaining 13 cases, a CT-guided free hand technique was used. Of the 100 biopsies performed, adequate tissue for histopathologic diagnosis was obtained in 97, and in three the biopsy was nondiagnostic. In 61 procedures the initial biopsy specimen was adequate for diagnosis. Two specimens were required in 25 and in the remaining cases it was necessary to obtain three to four biopsy specimens before a definitive diagnosis could be made. Ultimately, the histologic diagnosis was made on frozen section examination in 93 of the cases. The lesions identified were neoplastic disease in 83 cases, vascular disease in seven, infectious disease in five, demyelinating disease in one, and radiation necrosis in one. Comparison between the frozen section diagnosis and the final diagnosis based on the permanent sections revealed that they matched in 89 cases (92%). Of the 83 cases of neoplasms the exact grade of malignancy was determined by frozen section to make a final diagnosis revealed that even if the specimen volume was less than 2 mm3, the biopsy was generally successful. The disadvantages of the small sample size obtained through needle biopsy are best overcome by careful targeting and assessment of sample quality by intraoperative frozen section examinations, which will give the definitive diagnosis in most of the cases without paraffin-embedded sections.
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