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Carpal tunnel biopsy

Definition

Carpal tunnel biopsy is a test in which a small piece of tissue is removed from the carpal tunnel (part of the wrist).

Alternative Names

Biopsy - carpal tunnel

Why the Test is Performed

This test may be done if you have symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome and your health care provider suspects that you may have amyloidosis.

How the Test is Performed

The skin of your wrist is scrubbed and injected with medicine that numbs the area. Through a small cut, a sample of tissue is removed from the carpal tunnel. This is done by direct removal of tissue or by needle aspiration.

Sometimes this procedure is performed at the time of carpal tunnel release.

How to Prepare for the Test

Your doctor may ask that you not eat anything for a few hours before the test.

For infants and children, the physical and psychological preparation you can provide for this test depends on your child's age and experience. For specific information on how to prepare your child, see the following topics:

How the Test Will Feel

You may feel some stinging or burning when the numbing medicine is injected. You may also feel some pressure or tugging during the procedure. Afterward, the area may be tender or sore for a few days.

Risks

  • Bleeding
  • Damage to the nerve in this area
  • Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)

Considerations

If the biopsy indicates abnormalities of the carpal tunnel, your health care provider may suggest the carpal tunnel release procedure. Your provider may also recommend more surgery to fix or improve the abnormality.

Normal Results

No abnormal tissues are found.

What Abnormal Results Mean

Amyloidosis involving the carpal tunnel.


Review Date: 7/17/2008
Reviewed By: Andrew L. Chen, MD, MS, Orthopedist, The Alpine Clinic, Littleton, NH. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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