Nerve biopsy

Last updated: Monday, 05, April, 2004

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In most instances the sural nerve is sampled. 

Nerve biopsy should be obtained without trauma of any kind to the area to be examined and once obtained should be held in a stabilising clamp. 

Nerve biopsy is a specialised procedure requiring the taking of tissue for microscopy and for the examination of teased fibre preparations. 

Special fixatives are employed and fixation should commence immediately the biopsy is taken. 

Neural biopsy should be undertaken only in centres with the appropriate facilities and after consultation with the pathologist.


Fresh tissue: frozen section, immunofluorescence. 

Fixed tissue: light microscopy, immunohistochemistry, electron microscopy (special fixative).


Investigation of axonopathies, demyelinating neuropathies.


Identification of axonal degeneration or segmental demyelination, and categorisation of neuropathy.


Atkinson JB et al. In: Wendner N et alModern Surgical Pathology. Saunders 2003.