A biopsy is an operation in which a needle is passed into a tumour to take small samples to send for analysis in order to determine a precise diagnosis. Image-guided refers to the use of scans and a computer to precisely locate and target a lesion (abnormal tissue) within the brain. This was previously commonly done by fixing a metal frame to the head with pins and carrying out a scan with the frame on.
Now your scan can be performed in advance of your surgery. The data is uploaded onto a computer in the operating room, and a navigation system is used to locate the tumour.
You do not usually need to have a general anaesthetic but will be given some sedation. In the operating theatre you will be positioned on an operating table and your head will be supported on a headrest.
A neuronavigation system (like a satellite navigation system) will then be used together with your pre-operative scan data to precisely locate the site for the biopsy (target) and to determine an entry point, which can then be marked on the scalp.
Process: A small incision can then be marked on the scalp and a very small amount of hair shaved along the line of the incision before it is cleaned with antiseptic solutions and then surrounded by surgical drapes. A small injection of local anaesthetic is used to numb the incision site: this stings for a few seconds only. Nothing else should hurt at all.
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