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Carpal tunnel biopsy

Biopsy - carpal tunnel

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

How the Test is Performed

The skin of your wrist is cleansed 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 done at the same time as carpal tunnel release.

How to Prepare for the Test

Follow instructions for not eating or drinking anything for a few hours before the test.

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.

Why the Test is Performed

This test is often done to see if you have a condition called amyloidosis. It is not usually done to relieve carpal tunnel syndrome. However, a person with amyloidosis can have carpal tunnel syndrome.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition in which there is excessive pressure on the median nerve. This is the nerve in the wrist that allows feeling and movement to parts of the hand. Carpal tunnel syndrome can lead to numbness, tingling, weakness, or muscle damage in the hand and fingers.

Normal Results

No abnormal tissues are found.

What Abnormal Results Mean

An abnormal result means that you have amyloidosis. Other medical treatment will be needed for this condition.

Risks

Risks of this procedure include:

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

References

Calandruccio JH. Carpal tunnel syndrome, ulnar tunnel syndrome, and stenosing tenosynovitis. In: Azar FM, Beaty JH, Canale ST, eds. Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 76.

Hawkins PN. Amyloidosis. In: Hochberg MC, Silman AJ, Smolen JS, Weinblatt ME, Weisman MH, eds. Rheumatology. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 177.

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    • Carpal tunnel syndrome

      Carpal tunnel syndrome

      illustration

    • Surface anatomy - normal palm

      Surface anatomy - normal palm

      illustration

    • Surface anatomy - normal wrist

      Surface anatomy - normal wrist

      illustration

    • Carpal biopsy

      Carpal biopsy

      illustration

      • Carpal tunnel syndrome

        Carpal tunnel syndrome

        illustration

      • Surface anatomy - normal palm

        Surface anatomy - normal palm

        illustration

      • Surface anatomy - normal wrist

        Surface anatomy - normal wrist

        illustration

      • Carpal biopsy

        Carpal biopsy

        illustration

      Tests for Carpal tunnel biopsy

       
       

      Review Date: 8/15/2018

      Reviewed By: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Francisco, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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