Long hollow needles by which slender cylinders of tissue are removed for study are inserted in various directions and sometimes to great depths in the brain, before and after decompression operations. By examination of the tissue microscopically, diagnosis of the disease is often correctly made. Brain puncturing is also done for radioscopic ventriculography and for other purposes. These measures are usually to determine and aid subsequent intracranial surgical operations. Serious consequences and even death occasionally follow these exploratory ventures. No doubt the desperate condition of the patient demands his exposure to the risks; however, only those with broad experience in neurologic surgery possess any competent appreciation of the dangers of puncturing the brain. The information available is restricted within narrow circles, since most published reports are devoted to surgical triumphs rather than to unfortunate outcomes or to mortality.
The state of affairs here discussed need not be considered as applying
SURGICAL LIABILITIES AND THE DANGERS OF BRAIN PUNCTURE. JAMA. 1928;91(13):964–965. doi:10.1001/jama.1928.02700130042015