What is the role of nerve biopsy in the diagnosis of leprosy?

Updated: Aug 24, 2018
  • Author: Darvin Scott Smith, MD, MSc, DTM&H; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

A nerve biopsy can be beneficial in ruling out diseases such as hereditary neuropathies or polyarteritis nodosa. Nerve biopsies may also help identify abnormalities in patients with subclinical leprosy and may be the only way to definitively diagnose completely neuropathic forms of leprosy. If a nerve biopsy is needed to confirm diagnosis, a purely sensory nerve (eg, sural or radial cutaneous nerve) should be used. This procedure is rarely necessary. [12]


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