A muscle biopsy is a test used to evaluate or diagnose certain types of neuromuscular disorders. This type of biopsy is done in the operating room in order to decrease the chance of wound infection.

About the Procedure

An anesthesia is used for this procedure. Children under age six will be given general anesthesia. Older children and adults usually can tolerate a local anesthesia. However, some older children (ages 6 -15) may need general anesthesia. This will need to be discussed by phone with the pre-op nurse and/ or with the anesthesia doctor or nurse the day of the procedure. 

The muscle is taken from the left upper arm or another area that the doctor chooses. The area is cleaned with Chloraprep (an iodine-like solution). An incision (cut) about one inch or less is made. Small strands of muscle are taken out and carefully prepared to send to a special lab. These small segments of muscle tissue will not harm the area once it is healed. 

The procedure typically takes less than one hour. When general anesthesia is used, it takes a little longer. 

The incision is closed with self-absorbing sutures, Dermabond, and a sterile dressing. 

Results may take between one week and several weeks, depending on how much testing is required. Final results will be mailed to your referring doctor, who requested the biopsy. 

We will explain how to care for the biopsy site and provide a copy of written instructions that you can refer to at home. 

This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the advice of your health care providers. If you have any questions, talk with your doctor or others on your health care team.