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Brain biopsy. View of a needle in position during a stereotaxic brain biopsy operation. The black cross on the patient's head provides a guide for the needle. The frame allows a high degree of precision in its positioning. This is a stereotaxic operation: the head of the patient has been scanned (by MRI, CT or PET scanning) to find the ideal area to take the biopsy from. This reduces the risk of damaging healthy brain tissue. A hole is drilled into the skull in the correct area and the biopsy needle is inserted. Tissue is removed and then analysed to establish a diagnosis. Brain biopsies are usually performed in cases of a suspected brain tumour.
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