The technique of needle muscle biopsy using the Bergstr öm needle has been in routine use in our muscle clinic since 1978. In an initial feasibility study 24 children had a needle and an open biopsy performed simultaneously through extension of the same incision and 22 had identical interpretation of the needle and open biopsies. Needle biopsies have subsequently been performed in 674 children and have been satisfactory for diagnostic assessment in 656. The samples have been of adequate size and comparable in quality to our previous open biopsies, with good preservation and orientation. Needle muscle biopsy under local anaesthetic is quicker and less traumatic than open biopsy and leaves only a very small scar. Sufficient muscle can be obtained for routine histological, histochemical, and electronmicroscopic diagnosis, as well as for specialised biochemical and research purposes. There seems little justification for the continued use of open biopsy for routine investigation of neuromuscular disease.
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