Spinal cord biopsy: Do the benefits outweigh the risks?
My neurologist and neurosurgeon (at Mayo Clinic in Rochester)have recommended a spinal cord lesion biopsy. I have been dealing with a progressive myelopathy of unknown origin for three years. Scans, blood workups, spinal taps, and numerous medications/infusions, including steroids, have not slowed or stabalized my symptoms: numbness from the waist down to my toes with spasticity. Four years ago I was running 5 miles a day. I am now using a walker full time with a drop foot in my right leg. Mayo has ruled out various diseases, like MS, NMO, Parkinsons, and Transverse Myelitis. The rationale for the biopsy is to identify the disease and then treat accordingly. Do the benefits outweigh the risks in a biopsy of the spinal cord? What does the procedure entail? Is is considered an outpatient procedure? Hospital stay? What percentage of biopsies are successful in identifying underlying cause and specific disease? If I choose to not have the biopsy (at Mayo in Rochester), my only care plan option will be a referral to the UDN – NIH (undiagnosed disease network at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, MD) with no guarantee of acceptance into the program or a confirmed diagnosis. Logistics and family concerns will play a role in my decision as I live in northern Wisconsin and am the primary caregiver for my wife who is in the middle stages of Alzheimer's. I am 73 years old and a recent prostate cancer surviver. Time is of the essence.
Any advise or recommendations or sharing of similar personal experiences would be helpful and greatly appreciated.