Image-guided biopsy is an important tool in the diagnosis of solid pancreatic masses. This study aims to evaluate the accuracy and complications associated with this procedure.
We conducted a retrospective cohort study of all patients referred to interventional radiology for pancreatic biopsy at our institution from July 2004-July 2015. Two radiologists independently reviewed the images, technical aspects, and clinical characteristics.
A total of 82 patients underwent pancreatic biopsy using a combination of computed tomography (CT) and/or ultrasound guidance. Mean age was 67.8 years with 56% males. Most lesions were located in the head (63.4%), followed by the tail (19.5%), and the body (17.1%). The procedures were performed using the anterior (79.3%), lateral (7.3%), or posterior (13.4%) approach, with direct access in 85.4% of the patients and indirect access (transgastric or transhepatic) in 14.6% of cases. Core biopsies were obtained in 81.7% of cases, and fine needle aspiration was performed in 18.3% of cases. Needle size varied from 18–22 gauge (median 20 gauge). The median number of samples collected was 3 (range 1–8). A conclusive result was obtained in 82.9% of cases. There were 9 (11%) patients with minor complications: minor bleeding, pain, and inadvertent bowel puncture with no clinical repercussion. There were no deaths or major complications.
Percutaneous image-guided pancreatic mass biopsy can be performed safely with excellent accuracy. Our results are comparable with endoscopic biopsy/aspiration, and percutaneous biopsy may be used as an alternative, particularly at institutions where endoscopy facilities are limited.