Muscle biopsy

Muscle biopsy

Muscle biopsy

During a muscle biopsy, a small tissue sample from a muscle is removed so that it can be examined and analysed in a laboratory. It is commonly done in cases where the cause of muscle weakness is unknown, suspected muscular dystrophy, and where certain conditions (e.g. polyarteritis nodosa) affect muscle tissue. In sports science, it is done for research. The tissue sample is removed under local anaesthetic, either with a needle (needle biopsy) or by cutting (open biopsy).

What is it?
During a muscle biopsy, a small tissue sample from a muscle is removed so that it can be examined and analysed in a laboratory. It is commonly done in cases where the cause of muscle weakness is unknown, suspected muscular dystrophy, and where certain conditions (e.g. polyarteritis nodosa) affect muscle tissue. In sports science, it is done for research. The tissue sample is removed under local anaesthetic, either with a needle (needle biopsy) or by cutting (open biopsy).

Why is it done?
A muscle biopsy is done in order to examine the muscle tissue in detail (in a laboratory). Common indications include:

  • Muscle weakness of unknown cause
  • Suspected muscular dystrophy
  • Certain conditions that affect muscle tissue (e.g. polyarteritis nodosa)
  • Research (especially sports science)

What happens?

Before – how to prepare
You need to sign a consent form.

During – how the test is done
The skin over the muscle to be biopsied is exposed and thoroughly cleaned. Local anaesthetic will be injected under the skin (this may be a little painful). The doctor will then remove some tissue in 1 of 2 ways:

  • A needle biopsy uses a needle, pushed into the muscle, to withdraw some fluid and tissue.
  • An open biopsy involves making an incision over the muscle and then excising a sample. The incision is sutured closed.

After the test
You will have a dressing in place and will be advised to avoid excessive use of/movement of the area.

Risks and Compilations
There is a small risk of bleeding and an even smaller risk of infection. It is possible that nerves or blood vessels could be damaged although this is uncommon.

Short Description
During a muscle biopsy, a small tissue sample from a muscle is removed so that it can be examined and analysed in a laboratory.

Keywords
muscle biopsy, biopsy of the muscle, muscle tissue sample



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