Needle biopsy

Needle biospies are performed on the neurological day unit, within the Wessex Neurological Centre. Although the procedure is short, you will often be asked to attend the ward in the morning for blood tests prior to the procedure. After the procedure two hours bedrest is advised so in practice most of the day can be spent on the ward. 

The procedure involves inserting a needle, about 5mm in diameter, into the muscle. When the needle is removed a small sample of muscle remains inside the needle and this is taken for analysis. The incision through which the needle is inserted is usually only a few millimetres in length. Once the sample has been taken, the incision is held together with sterile strips and a plaster, and no stitches are required. The scar that remains is very small. The needle biopsy procedure itself is brief, often less than ten minutes, but produces a smaller sample than the open technique.