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UR Medicine

Muscle Biopsy

Immunoflourescence photo of myosin heavy chain slow, caveolin, and ulex.For most patients, a sample of muscle tissue can be obtained by penetrating the skin with a needle, sparing the post-operative discomfort and risk associated with the more invasive open biopsy procedure. The site of the needle biopsy requires no sutures and heals with a low chance of infection. Needle biopsies are performed in the outpatient clinic or at the inpatient bedside. Patients with severe muscle atrophy need to undergo open biopsy, which is performed in our Ambulatory Care Center.

Patients experiencing the following symptoms may need a muscle biopsy:

  • Unexplained weakness or muscle pain
  • Unexplained elevations in serum creatine kinase (CK) levels
  • Recurrent rhabdomyolysis (the destruction or degeneration of skeletal muscle tissue)

Chemical analysis of muscle often leads to a precise diagnosis of specific underlying muscular dystrophies and myopathies. Muscle is also an easily accessible tissue to help diagnose:

  • Sarcoidosis
  • Systemic vasculitis
  • Mitochondrial disorders