A muscle biopsy is a procedure used to diagnose diseases involving muscle tissue. Your healthcare provider will remove tissue and cells from a specific muscle and view them microscopically. Your provider will only need to remove a small piece of tissue from the designated muscle.
Your doctor takes the tissue sample by inserting a biopsy needle into your muscle. If a larger sample is required, your healthcare provider may make an incision in your skin (open biopsy) and remove a larger section of muscle.
The muscle selected for your biopsy depends on the location of symptoms, which may include pain or weakness. The muscles often selected for sampling are the bicep (upper arm muscle), deltoid (shoulder muscle), or quadriceps (thigh muscle).
You may need a muscle biopsy to assess your musculoskeletal system for abnormalities. Various disease processes can cause muscle weakness or pain. These conditions may be related to problems with your nervous system, connective tissue, vascular system, or musculoskeletal system.
A muscle biopsy helps determine the source of the disease process. This ensures the proper treatment.
Your doctor may do a muscle biopsy diagnose neuromuscular disorders, infections that affect your muscle, and other abnormalities in your muscle tissue. These are some conditions diagnosed by muscle biopsy:
There may be other reasons for your healthcare provider to recommend a muscle biopsy.
As with any surgical procedure, complications can occur. Some possible complications may include:
Other risks may exist, depending on your specific medical condition. Be sure to discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider before the procedure.
Your doctor may do a muscle biopsy on an outpatient basis, or as part of your stay in a hospital. Procedures may vary, depending on your condition and your provider’s practices. Generally, a muscle biopsy follows this process:
Once you are home, it is important to keep the biopsy area clean and dry. Your healthcare provider will give you specific bathing instructions. If you have stitches, your doctor will remove them during a follow-up office visit. Keep adhesive strips dry and they should fall off on their own within a few days.
The biopsy site may be tender or sore for 2 to 3 days after your muscle biopsy. Take a pain reliever for soreness, as your healthcare provider recommends. Aspirin or certain other pain medicines may increase your chance for bleeding. Be sure to take only recommended medicines.
Tell your healthcare provider if you have:
You may resume your usual diet and activities, unless your healthcare provider advises you otherwise. Your healthcare provider may restrict your activity for 24 hours following the procedure and ask that you avoid excessive use of the biopsied muscle.
Your provider may give you other instructions after the procedure, depending on your particular situation.
Before you agree to the test or the procedure make sure you know: