Muscle Biopsy

A muscle biopsy is a procedure in which a tissue sample is removed from a muscle. The tissue is examined under a microscope to help detect health problems that may involve the muscles. Chemical tests can also be run on the sample if they are needed. A muscle biopsy can be used to diagnose various problems, including muscular disorders (such as muscular dystrophy), infections, diseases that affect connective tissue or blood vessels, and other defects in the muscle.

LET YOUR CAREGIVER KNOW ABOUT:

  • Any allergies you have.  

  • All medicines you are taking, including vitamins, steroids, herbs, eyedrops, and over-the-counter medicines and creams.  

  • Previous problems you or members of your family have had with the use of anesthetics.  

  • Possibility of pregnancy, if this applies.  

  • Any blood disorders you have.

  • Previous surgeries you have had.  

  • Other health problems you have.  

RISKS AND COMPLICATIONS

Generally, muscle biopsy is a safe procedure. However, as with any surgical procedure, complications can occur. Possible complications include:

  • Bruising.

  • Bleeding from the biopsy site.

  • Infection.

  • Problems healing the wound.

  • Injury to the muscle tissue or other tissue near the biopsy site.

BEFORE THE PROCEDURE

  • Ask your caregiver about changing or stopping your regular medicines.

  • Make plans to have someone drive you home after the procedure.

PROCEDURE

You will be given a medicine to numb the area where the biopsy sample will be taken (local anesthetic). You may also be given a medicine to help you relax (sedative). The biopsy site will be cleaned with a germ-killing solution. One of the following methods will then be used to remove the tissue sample:

  • Needle biopsy: A biopsy needle is inserted into the muscle. The needle is used to collect the tissue sample. A bandage (dressing) may then be put over the biopsy site.

  • Open biopsy: A small cut (incision) is made in the skin and muscle. The tissue sample is then removed using surgical tools. The incision is closed with skin glue, skin adhesive strips, or stitches if needed.

AFTER THE PROCEDURE

Your recovery will be assessed and monitored. If there are no problems, you will be allowed to go home shortly after the procedure. You may have soreness and tenderness at the site of the biopsy for a few days after the procedure.