ISSN 2398-2950      

Biopsy: muscle

ffelis
Contributor(s):

Kyle Braund

Simon Platt


Introduction

  • Muscle biopsy is an essential minimally invasive test for the definitive diagnosis of neuromuscular diseases.
  • Although a neurological examination and electrophysiological testing can localize the disease, muscle biopsy is necessary to confirm the nature of the disease.

Uses

  • It can provide information about muscle structure and function owing to the great variety of staining techniques available.
  • It can confirm inflammatory, degenerative and metabolic diseases of the muscle.
  • It can provide information about the severity of the muscle disease.
  • In some cases, it can also provide information on associated nerve disease either directly when intrafascicular nerve branches are also biopsies or indirectly by interpretation of the muscles response to the nerve disease.

Advantages

  • It is minimally invasive to the patient.
  • It is a very time efficient procedure.
  • It is often specific in the diagnosis of the underlying disease.
  • It can confirm early onset disease and disease in which there is no CK elevation or electrophysiological abnormality.

Disadvantages

  • It requires anesthesia which may be a financial consideration as well as a patient stability concern if there is associated disease of the larynx, pharynx or esophagus raising the possibility of aspiration pneumonia.
  • It is best performed after electromyographical analysis of the neuromuscular system unless the disease is suspected to be generalized and other markers of muscle disease, such as creatinine kinase elevations, are unequivocal.
  • It requires special shipping procedures to be arranged on an overnight basis to a specialized laboratory if the full complement of staining techniques are to be run.
  • It may miss patchy and localized diseases and so more than one sample is advised, although not in the US.

Requirements

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Preparation

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Procedure

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Aftercare

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Outcomes

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Prognosis

  • Excellent.

Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Dickinson P J & LeCouteur R A (2002) Muscle and Nerve Biopsy. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 32 (1), 63-102 PubMed.
  • Braund K G (1991) Nerve and Muscle Biopsy techniques. Progress in Veterinary Neurology (1), 35-56 VetMedResource.

Organisation(s)

  • The Animal Health Trust, Centre for Small Animal Studies, Newmarket, Suffolk, England CB8 7UU

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