Incidence of adverse events associated with percutaneous muscular biopsy among healthy and diseased subjects


Corresponding author: B. Gualano, School of Physical Education and Sport, University of Sao Paulo, Av. Prof. Mello Moraes, 65, Sao Paulo, SP 05508-030, Brazil. Tel: +55 11 30913136, Fax: +55 11 38135921, E-mail:


The development of the percutaneous muscle biopsy technique is recognized as one of the most important scientific contributions in advancing our understanding of skeletal muscle physiology. However, a concern that this procedure may be associated with adverse events still exists. We reported the incidence of adverse outcomes associated with percutaneous muscle biopsy in healthy and diseased subjects. Medical records of 274 volunteers (496 muscle biopsies) were reviewed. This included 168 healthy subjects (330 muscle biopsies) as well as 106 chronically ill patients (166 muscle biopsies). This latter group encompassed patients with type II diabetes (n=28), osteoarthritis (n=39), inclusion body myositis (n=4), polymyositis (n=4), and chronic heart failure (n=31). The most common occurrences were pain (1.27%), erythema (1.27%), and ecchymosis (1.27%). Panic episode, bleeding, and edema were also reported (0.21%, 0.42%, and 0.84%, respectively), while infection, hematoma, inflammation, denervation, numbness, atrophy, and abnormal scarring were not verified. The percent of incidents did not differ between healthy and ill individuals. In conclusion, the incidence of complications associated with percutaneous muscle biopsy is scarce and of minor clinical relevance. Additionally, the rate of adverse events is comparable between healthy and chronically ill subjects.