Radiologically Guided Bone Biopsy: Results of 502 Biopsies
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Purpose: To analyze the results of 502 biopsies over a 19-year period for the purpose of highlighting the results that can be expected from such a large study, with emphasis on needle choice and anesthetic methods.
Methods: The histological, cytological, and microbiological results of 477 patients who had 502 bone biopsies carried out between July 1977 and March 1996 were studied. Less than 5% of patients required second biopsies. There were almost equal numbers of males and females in the group. The lesions were visible radiologically and most of the biopsies were carried out by a single operator. The lesions were classified on their histopathological, cytopathological, and microbiological findings.
Results: Tumors accounted for 40% of the biopsies, and infection for 16%. Biopsies which did not yield a ``positive'' diagnosis accounted for 31%; these included specimens reported as normal, or as showing reactive changes, repair, remodelling, non-specific features, inflammation (but not clearly infective), or no evidence of malignancy or inflammation. Less than 4% of biopsies were incorrect, and some of these were re-biopsied.
Conclusion: Bone biopsy is a valuable technique for positive diagnosis of malignancy or infection, as it enables a definitive plan for treatment and management of patients to be established. Exclusion of serious pathology is almost equally important. In principle, any osseous site can be biopsied using fluoroscopic or computed tomographic guidance. Care in the biopsy technique and selection of the bone needle is required.
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