A nerve biopsy is the removal of a small piece of a nerve for examination.
A nerve biopsy is most often done on a nerve in the ankle or wrist.
The health care provider apply medicine to numb the area before the procedure. The doctor makes a small surgical cut and removes a piece of the nerve. The nerve sample is sent to a lab, where it is examined under a microscope.
There is no special preparation.
When the numbing medicine (local anesthetic) is injected, you will feel a prick and a mild sting. The biopsy site will be sore for a few days after the test.
Nerve biopsy may be done to help diagnose:
Additional conditions under which the test may be performed:
A normal result means the nerve appears normal.
Note: Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.
Abnormal results may be due to:
Nerve biopsy is invasive and is useful only in certain situations. Talk to your doctor about your options.
Biopsy - nerve
Shy ME. Peripheral neuropathies. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier. 2007: chap 446.
Updated by: Kevin Sheth, MD, Department of Neurology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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