1. It is recommended that the clinician discuss the case with one of the neuropathologists before the biopsy is performed. This allows the neuropathologist to inform the laboratory if any special procedures are needed for that specimen. Dr. Eun-Sook Cho (telephone: (973) 972-4145) and Dr. Leroy Sharer (telephone: (973) 972-4770) can be contacted for this.

2. The referring hospital should notify the Neuropathology Laboratory of the date and time of the biopsy at least one day prior to the procedure. This allows the technician time to prepare the laboratory to accept the biopsy. Contact the Neuropathology Laboratory (telephone: (973) 972-7167). In case the specimen comes from a patient with a BIOHAZARD condition, the Neuropathology Laboratory should be so notified.

3. Should the biopsy be performed at an institution other than University Hospital, arrangements should be made through the laboratory of the referring institution and a
surgical pathology accession number should be assigned to the specimen. This number will serve as a reference in both the final report and the bill.

4. A request form and written clinical history should accompany the specimen. Include pertinent laboratory findings and the name and telephone number of the physician
responsible for the case, as well as the reason for performing the biopsy (i.e., clinical diagnosis).

5. The muscle should be carefully selected according to the following guidelines:
      a. In acute and subacute conditions the most affected muscle should be biopsied. In chronic disease processes, a moderately affected muscle should be biopsied   

          rather than those that are severely affected. It is preferable to biopsy those muscles in which fiber type distribution has been established (e.g. biceps, quadriceps).
      b. Muscles with a recent history of trauma, including electromyogram needle insertion (EMG) and intramuscular injection, should be avoided.
      c. The biopsy should be taken from an area of muscle away form the musculotendinous junction.

6. The muscle biopsy should be taken with great care to avoid any excess mechanical trauma to the specimen, to maintain the orientation of the muscle fibers and to prevent the contraction of the biopsied muscle. (Muscle clamps are not to be used.) The following should be observed:
      a. When infiltrating the skin with a local anesthetic (without epinephrine), it is important to avoid infiltrating the muscle itself.
      b. Following blunt dissection, a cigar shaped strip of muscle at least 2.5 cm long and 1.0 cm wide should be removed with minimal handling.
      c. Do not clamp, suture, or tie the muscle to a tongue depressor, or any other object.

7. The biopsied muscle should be prepared in the following manner as quickly as possible to avoid deterioration of enzymatic reactions:
      a. The muscle should be placed loosely on saline moistened gauze.
      b. The biopsy, wrapped with the saline moistened gauze, should be placed in a small empty container (it should never float in saline).
      c. This container should, in turn, be placed in a Styrofoam box with regular ice (NOT DRY ICE).

8. The clearly labeled (including BIOHAZARD, if applicable) muscle biopsy should be immediately delivered to this address:

Neuropathology Laboratory
Medical Science Building, C-525
185 South Orange Avenue
Newark, NJ
Telephone (973) 972-7167

and handed in person to one of the technicians. The specimen should not be kept for regular delivery of surgical specimens since immediate processing is essential for
histochemistry and election microscopy.


Muscle Biopsies should be received between 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. - Monday through Wednesday. Thursday and Friday should be avoided to ensure proper processing without delay over a weekend.


If the specimen is from a patient with any biohazardous infection (for example, hepatitis B virus, HIV, etc., this information should be given to our laboratory at the time that service is arranged (see #2 above). The specimen should also be clearly labeled "BIOHAZARD" in red.