What is the role of skin biopsy in the evaluation of complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)?

Updated: Jun 20, 2018
  • Author: Gaurav Gupta, MD; Chief Editor: Stephen A Berman, MD, PhD, MBA  more...
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Answer

One hypothesis is that CRPS type I is caused by persistent minimal nerve injury, particularly distal degeneration of the small-diameter axons. [73] This theory was investigated in studies where quantitative mechanical and thermal sensory testing was performed, followed by quantification analysis of epidermal neuritic densities and skin biopsies. Axonal densities were diminished at CRPS-affected sites in 17 of 18 patients by an average of 29%. Control subjects had no painful-site neurite reductions; however, the relationship of these findings to distinct pathophysiological mechanisms remains unclear. [74]


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