Suction-modified Bergström muscle biopsy technique: Experience with 13,500 procedures
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INTRODUCTION: Bergström needle muscle biopsies have been used by exercise physiologists for over 35 years but have been less accepted by neuromuscular clinicians due to size concerns. METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed over 13,500 muscle Bergström needle biopsies done over a 21-year period to determine sampling success, patient/subject experience, and complications. We compared sample yield between two different needles (Bergström vs. UCH), with and without suction modifications. RESULTS: Needle biopsies adequate for histology and enzymology were obtainable from the vastus lateralis, deltoid, biceps brachii, soleus, and medial gastrocnemius muscles, with a success rate of >99.9% and a minor complication rate of 0.15%. Approximately 450 muscle fibers were submitted for histologic assessment; suction modification and use of the Bergström vs. UCH needle were associated with larger sample size (P < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: The suction-modified Bergström needle muscle biopsy technique is safe and provides an adequate sample size for histologic, ultrastructural, DNA, and enzyme analysis.
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