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August 1973

Smear Biopsy in Neurosurgical Diagnosis

Author Affiliations

From the departments of neurosurgery and neuropathology, Institute of Neurological Sciences, Glasgow. Dr. Marshall is now with the Department of Neurosurgery at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

Arch Neurol. 1973;29(2):124-126. doi:10.1001/archneur.1973.00490260068015

All 187 neurosurgical biopsies which had been processed by the smear technique during the course of one year were reviewed. The method proved reliable, although in a few cases malignant tumors, eg, anaplastic astrocytoma and secondary carcinoma, could not be distinguished from each other, whether the specimen came from burr-hole biopsy or open operation (intracranial or spinal). Burr-hole biopsy combined with the smear technique proved safe, and many patients with inoperable malignant tumors or with nonsurgical conditions were spared a craniotomy—a considerable gain for the patient and for society. The smear technique also allows a rapid diagnosis of lesions exposed in the operating room, and this enables decisions about surgical strategy to be more firmly based.

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