Skin biopsy in the management of peripheral neuropathy

Lancet Neurol. 2007 Jul;6(7):632-42. doi: 10.1016/S1474-4422(07)70172-2.


Skin biopsy has been widely used in recent years for the investigation of small-calibre sensory nerves, including somatic unmyelinated intraepidermal nerve fibres, dermal myelinated nerve fibres, and autonomic nerve fibres in peripheral neuropathies, with different techniques for tissue processing and nerve fibre assessment. Here, we review the techniques for skin biopsy, the processing and assessment of the biopsy sample, their possible uses in different types of peripheral neuropathy, and their use in the follow-up of patients and in clinical trials. We also review the association between morphological measures of skin innervation and function and the limits of this method in the aetiological classification of peripheral neuropathies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / therapy
  • Skin / pathology*