Why are biopsies rarely recommended for the diagnosis of diabetic neuropathy?

Updated: Jan 08, 2019
  • Author: Dianna Quan, MD; Chief Editor: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP  more...
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Answer

Biopsy rarely is recommended for clinical purposes. Reasons for this move away from biopsies in clinical trials include the invasive nature of the procedure with its attendant risks, discomfort to the patient, cost, problems with reproducibility due to sampling error, and availability of other methods to obtain similar information. This study is performed primarily when the etiology of the neuropathy is in question or in research settings. Several studies have looked at biopsies, mainly of the sural nerve in humans. These studies were performed in advanced neuropathy; vessels were found to be thickened, and nerves were found to have undergone severe damage. Indications of nerve regrowth were small and weak.


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