View Full Version : Muscle Biopsy

04-25-2011, 08:57 PM
I'm going to be having a muscle biopsy to confirm a diagnosis of Polymyositis as I've had muscle weakness in my legs, radiating into my hips, since February.

Wearing heels is difficult and climbing a flight of stairs is uncomfortable.

Has anyone else had a muscle biopsy done? Does it hurt like heck? What can I expect? How long will it take to get results? Who performs the biopsy?

Anyone else have Polymyositis? How has it impacted your life?

My half-brother was diagnosed with Dermatomyositis about a year before I was diagnosed with SLE and Sjogren's. He's nine years younger than me and is now 37. We're not in contact so it's not like I can call him with my 50 questions. Plus, my lupie pals are a more reliable source of info.....

04-25-2011, 09:56 PM
Hi BonusMom,
It's great to see you here again. I've missed you.
I had a muscle biopsy back in Houston. I was expecting it to be in a leg, since that's where I have problems. However, the doc said that with what they were looking for (Spinocerebellar Ataxia) it didn't matter what muscle was used. They took a few snips from a muscle in my upper arm. It was done by a couple of residents. They numbed my arm and immobilized it, but I was able to watch the entire thing.
It didn't hurt too badly afterward - just a deep stitched-up incision. It left an interesting scar. My students told me to scare the freshmen by telling them that I had gotten it by breaking up a knife fight in the cafeteria!
I don't remember how long it was before I went back, since it was four hours from where I lived. I was negative for the ataxia, but I don't know if they ever checked for polymyositis. That is one of the things that my great rheumy in San Antonio threw out as a possibility later, so I do wish that they had checked for it.
Good luck to you, and please keep me informed. Your symptoms sound much like the way I was when this started to get bad a few years ago.

04-26-2011, 03:06 AM
Thanks for the response, M! I am surprised that they took the sample from your arm, too, since the legs are what trouble you.

I'm curious if the biopsy will show the damage if I'm not experiencing as much weakness at the time of the biopsy as I was in February-can the results fluctuate like an ANA can? Or is the damage to the muscle an accrual type thing, once you start having weakness, the damage is done to the muscle and nothing will change/repair the cells?

The weakness was really bad in February and, coincidentally, I thought it due to a new med I was taking for RLS. It's gotten a little better, but definitely still there. I'd hate to undergo the biopsy now if there's a chance it could be negative since it's an invasive test.

04-27-2011, 09:56 PM
Hi BonusMom,
I can't answer your questions. Hopefully, the docs can. I'll be really curious to hear what you find out.

04-30-2011, 08:44 AM
Hello Bonusmom,

I've never had what your asking about but it seems like Marla as but i'm adding some info for you incase it helps about Polymyositis and also about the muscle biopsy and i do wish you all the best and keep we updated please.

~Hugs Terri~ xxx

How does the doctor diagnose polymyositis?

When a patient first sees the doctor, the recent symptoms especially concerning weakness will be discussed. The condition of many other body areas might be reviewed, for example, the skin, heart, lungs, and joints. An examination will further focus on these and other systems. Various measures of strength might be noted.

Blood testing usually (but not always) reveals abnormally high levels of muscle enzymes, CPK or creatinine phosphokinase, aldolase, SGOT, SGPT, and LDH. These enzymes are released into the blood by muscle that is being damaged by inflammation. They can also be used as measures of the activity of the inflammation. Other routine blood and urine tests can also look for internal organ abnormalities. Chest X-rays, mammograms, PAP smears, and other screening tests might be considered.

An electromyograph (EMG) and nerve conduction velocity are electrical tests of muscle and nerves that can show abnormal findings typical of polymyositis as well as exclude other nerve-muscle diseases.

Imaging of the muscles using radiology tests, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI scanning), can show areas of inflammation of muscle. This can sometimes can be used to determine muscle biopsy sites.

A muscle biopsy is used to confirm the presence of muscle inflammation typical only of polymyositis. This is a surgical procedure whereby muscle tissue is removed for analysis by a pathologist, a specialist in examining tissue under a microscope. Muscles often used for biopsy include the quadriceps muscle of the front of the thigh, the biceps muscle of the arm, and the deltoid muscle of the shoulder.

04-30-2011, 07:54 PM
Thanks for the good wishes, Terri. I'm still waiting for insurance approval and then the appointment, so it'll be a while before I know anything.

05-01-2011, 09:12 AM
Well i hope you don't have to wait to long on either to get it sorted out, as i do know appointments can be a pain waiting for but keep we updated please.

Terri xxx