Mus­cle Biopsy (2010)

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Con­tents

1. About the Test
2. Prepa­ra­tion
3. Dur­ing the Pro­ce­dure
4. After the Pro­ce­dure
5. Out­pa­tient Check-​In
6. Addi­tional Resources & Information

1. ABOUT THE TEST

What is a mus­cle biopsy?
It is a minor sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dure done with a local anes­thetic. A small inci­sion is made and a piece of mus­cle is removed. The mus­cle sam­ple is then exam­ined for the pur­pose of diagnosis.

Mus­cle biop­sies can be done in one of four places. When it is done at the same time as a nerve biopsy, it is done behind the leg (in the mid­line, just below the knee crease).

Why is it done?
A mus­cle biopsy is done to:

  • Con­firm a spe­cific diagnosis;
  • Dis­tin­guish between nerve and mus­cle dis­or­ders (between neu­ro­genic and myo­pathic disorders);
  • Iden­tify meta­bolic defects of the mus­cle (such as Mito­chon­dr­ial disease)
  • Diag­nose dis­eases of the con­nec­tive tis­sue and blood ves­sels (such as Vasculitis)
  • Diag­nose inflam­ma­tion that affects the mus­cle (such as Dermatomyositis).

What are the risks or side effects?
The risks and side effects are minor and rare. They include:

  • Dis­com­fort and bruis­ing. After the pro­ce­dure, you may have some minor dis­com­fort and bruis­ing sur­round­ing the biopsy site;
  • Infec­tion. There is a slight risk of infec­tion any time an inci­sion is made or skin is broken.
  • Aller­gic reac­tion to the local anaes­thetic or to the bandage.
  • Dam­age to the mus­cle tis­sue or tis­sues in the area (very rare).

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2. PREPA­RA­TION

How do I pre­pare for this test?
Any med­ica­tion that causes pro­longed bleed­ing, such as Entro­phen (aspirin), Plavix, Aggrenox, or Coumadin should be stopped before­hand. Your doc­tor or nurse will tell you when to stop tak­ing these med­ica­tions. Oth­er­wise there is no spe­cial prepa­ra­tion. No fast­ing is necessary.

What hap­pens before the biopsy?
When you arrive at the Neu­ro­log­i­cal Day Cen­tre, a nurse will ask you some basic ques­tions about your health and also describe the procedure.

If you feel ner­vous or anx­ious before the pro­ce­dure, you may be given a med­ica­tion to help you relax. This is quite common.

Once you are ready, you will be taken to the oper­at­ing room where the biopsy is done.

[Top of page]


3. DUR­ING THE PROCEDURE

What hap­pens dur­ing the biopsy?
First, a local anaes­thetic is used to numb the biopsy site. Then a small inci­sion is made in the skin and the sam­ple, or biopsy mate­r­ial, is removed.

To help the wound heal, the edges of the inci­sion are held together by a thread (sutures) or by a spe­cial tape (steri-​strips). The site is then cov­ered with a dressing.

How long does it take?
Nor­mally, it takes 45 minutes.

[Top of page]


4. AFTER THE PROCEDURE

How long does it take for the wound to heal?
The wound is allowed to heal for a week. Dur­ing this time, you should not change the dress­ing. You should keep the dress­ing dry.

If you notice any bleed­ing or ooz­ing from the inci­sion site, or if you get a fever, you should tell your nurse or doc­tor right away.

After a week, your ban­dage (dress­ing) will be removed. This can be done at your local CLSC or at the Neu­rol­ogy Day Clinic. At the same time that the ban­dage is removed, the wound will be exam­ined. If there are any sutures in, they will be removed at this time.

When and how will I receive the results of my biopsy?
You will receive the results of your biopsy within 8 weeks. Usu­ally a pre­lim­i­nary report is avail­able within 1 week. If treat­ment is avail­able for your con­di­tion it may be started after the pre­lim­i­nary result is avail­able. A follow-​up appoint­ment is made with the doc­tor who did the test. This appoint­ment takes place in the Neu­ro­log­i­cal Day Cen­tre or in the Doctor’s office.

[Top of page]


5. OUT­PA­TIENT CHECK-​IN

Neu­ro­log­i­cal Day Cen­tre
Sec­ond floor Room 238,
Mon­treal Neu­ro­log­i­cal Hos­pi­tal
Tele­phone: (514) 3981986

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6. ADDI­TIONAL RESOURCES & INFORMATION

Infor­ma­tion about InfoNEURO
Neuro-​Patient Resource Cen­tre
Mon­treal Neu­ro­log­i­cal Hosp­tial Room 354
Tel: (514) 3985358
E-​mail: infoneuro@​muhc.​mcgill.​ca
Web site: http://​infoneuro​.mcgill​.ca/

This infor­ma­tion is for edu­ca­tional pur­poses only, and is not intended to replace the advice of a pro­fes­sional health­care prac­ti­tioner, or to sub­sti­tute for med­ical care.

[Top of page]


Reviewed by Angela Genge, MD, and Bar­bara Taugher RN, Mon­treal Neu­ro­log­i­cal Hos­pi­tal.
Med­ical Edi­tor (Neu­rol­ogy): Liam Dur­can, MD.
Last reviewed: Decem­ber 2000.
Made by Neuro-​Patient Resource Cen­tre.
Mon­treal Neu­ro­log­i­cal Hospital.

What is a mus­cle biopsy?
It is a minor sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dure done with a local anes­thetic. A small inci­sion is made and a piece of mus­cle is removed. The mus­cle sam­ple is then exam­ined for the pur­pose of diagnosis.

Mus­cle biop­sies can be done in one of four places. When it is done at the same time as a nerve biopsy, it is done behind the leg (in the mid­line, just below the knee crease).

Why is it done?
A mus­cle biopsy is done to:

  • Con­firm a spe­cific diagnosis;
  • Dis­tin­guish between nerve and mus­cle dis­or­ders (between neu­ro­genic and myo­pathic disorders);
  • Iden­tify meta­bolic defects of the mus­cle (such as Mito­chon­dr­ial disease)
  • Diag­nose dis­eases of the con­nec­tive tis­sue and blood ves­sels (such as Vasculitis)
  • Diag­nose inflam­ma­tion that affects the mus­cle (such as Dermatomyositis).

What are the risks or side effects?
The risks and side effects are minor and rare. They include:

  • Dis­com­fort and bruis­ing. After the pro­ce­dure, you may have some minor dis­com­fort and bruis­ing sur­round­ing the biopsy site;
  • Infec­tion. There is a slight risk of infec­tion any time an inci­sion is made or skin is broken.
  • Aller­gic reac­tion to the local anaes­thetic or to the bandage.
  • Dam­age to the mus­cle tis­sue or tis­sues in the area (very rare).

[Top of page]


2. PREPA­RA­TION

How do I pre­pare for this test?
Any med­ica­tion that causes pro­longed bleed­ing, such as Entro­phen (aspirin), Plavix, Aggrenox, or Coumadin should be stopped before­hand. Your doc­tor or nurse will tell you when to stop tak­ing these med­ica­tions. Oth­er­wise there is no spe­cial prepa­ra­tion. No fast­ing is necessary.

What hap­pens before the biopsy?
When you arrive at the Neu­ro­log­i­cal Day Cen­tre, a nurse will ask you some basic ques­tions about your health and also describe the procedure.

If you feel ner­vous or anx­ious before the pro­ce­dure, you may be given a med­ica­tion to help you relax. This is quite common.

Once you are ready, you will be taken to the oper­at­ing room where the biopsy is done.

[Top of page]


3. DUR­ING THE PROCEDURE

What hap­pens dur­ing the biopsy?
First, a local anaes­thetic is used to numb the biopsy site. Then a small inci­sion is made in the skin and the sam­ple, or biopsy mate­r­ial, is removed.

To help the wound heal, the edges of the inci­sion are held together by a thread (sutures) or by a spe­cial tape (steri-​strips). The site is then cov­ered with a dressing.

How long does it take?
Nor­mally, it takes 45 minutes.

[Top of page]


4. AFTER THE PROCEDURE

How long does it take for the wound to heal?
The wound is allowed to heal for a week. Dur­ing this time, you should not change the dress­ing. You should keep the dress­ing dry.

If you notice any bleed­ing or ooz­ing from the inci­sion site, or if you get a fever, you should tell your nurse or doc­tor right away.

After a week, your ban­dage (dress­ing) will be removed. This can be done at your local CLSC or at the Neu­rol­ogy Day Clinic. At the same time that the ban­dage is removed, the wound will be exam­ined. If there are any sutures in, they will be removed at this time.

When and how will I receive the results of my biopsy?
You will receive the results of your biopsy within 8 weeks. Usu­ally a pre­lim­i­nary report is avail­able within 1 week. If treat­ment is avail­able for your con­di­tion it may be started after the pre­lim­i­nary result is avail­able. A follow-​up appoint­ment is made with the doc­tor who did the test. This appoint­ment takes place in the Neu­ro­log­i­cal Day Cen­tre or in the Doctor’s office.

[Top of page]


5. OUT­PA­TIENT CHECK-​IN

Neu­ro­log­i­cal Day Cen­tre
Sec­ond floor Room 238,
Mon­treal Neu­ro­log­i­cal Hos­pi­tal
Tele­phone: (514) 3981986

[Top of page]


6. ADDI­TIONAL RESOURCES & INFORMATION

Infor­ma­tion about InfoNEURO
Neuro-​Patient Resource Cen­tre
Mon­treal Neu­ro­log­i­cal Hosp­tial Room 354
Tel: (514) 3985358
E-​mail: infoneuro@​muhc.​mcgill.​ca
Web site: http://​infoneuro​.mcgill​.ca/

This infor­ma­tion is for edu­ca­tional pur­poses only, and is not intended to replace the advice of a pro­fes­sional health­care prac­ti­tioner, or to sub­sti­tute for med­ical care.

[Top of page]


Revised by Bar­bara Taugher, BSc(N), CNN©,
Med­ical Edi­tor (Neu­rol­ogy): Liam Dur­can, MD.
Last reviewed: 2010
Made by Neuro-​Patient Resource Cen­tre.
Mon­treal Neu­ro­log­i­cal Hos­pi­tal.


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