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:
- Muscular dystrophy (MD). A broad term that describes a genetic (inherited) disorder of the muscles. Muscular dystrophy affects skeletal muscles and other organ systems. When the muscles break down, fatty deposits replace them over time. There are many different types of muscular dystrophy.
- Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). The most common form of muscular dystrophy. DMD usually affects only males.
- Becker muscular dystrophy. Similar to Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), but usually more mild and symptoms start later in life.
- Trichinosis. An infection caused by a parasite that lives in raw meat. Symptoms may include muscle pain.
- Toxoplasmosis. An infection caused by a parasite that invades the tissue and can damage the central nervous system, especially in infants.
- Myasthenia gravis (MG). A complex, autoimmune disorder in which antibodies destroy neuromuscular connections. This causes problems with the nerves that communicate with muscles. MG affects the voluntary muscles of the body, especially your eyes, mouth, throat, and limbs.
- Polymyositis. A chronic disease involving skeletal muscles.
- Dermatomyositis. A collagen disorder that causes inflammation to the skin, muscles, and subcutaneous tissue, often resulting in weakened muscles.
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Also known as Lou Gehrig disease, ALS is a disease that attacks the nerves signaling voluntary muscle movement, eventually causing paralysis.
- Friedreich ataxia. An inherited, genetic disorder that involves balance and coordination.
Procedure of Muscle Biopsy
Orthopedic Surgeon at Shreya Hospital in Ghaziabad 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:
- You will be asked to remove clothing and will be given a gown to wear.
- During the procedure, you will need to lie as still as possible.
- A healthcare provider will clean the skin over the biopsy site with an antiseptic solution.
- As your healthcare provider injects a local anesthetic to numb the area, you will feel a needle stick and a brief stinging sensation.
- Your healthcare provider will insert the biopsy needle through your numbed skin and into the muscle to take the sample. You may feel some pressure, or pulling, during the procedure.
- If a larger sample is required, your doctor will make a small incision into the skin’s surface. Your provider may cut sections of your muscle tissue using small, sharp scissors instead of a biopsy needle. You may feel mild discomfort when the muscle is cut.
- Your healthcare provider will withdraw the biopsy needle and apply firm pressure to the biopsy site for a few minutes, until the bleeding has stopped.
- Your provider will close the opening in your skin with adhesive strips or stitches, if needed.
- A healthcare provider will apply a sterile bandage or dressing.
- Your provider will send your muscle tissue sample to the lab for exam.