Carpal tunnel biopsy is a test in which a small piece of tissue is removed from the carpal tunnel (part of the wrist).
Biopsy - carpal tunnel
How the test is performed
The skin of your wrist is scrubbed 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.
Your doctor may ask that you not eat 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 usually done to rule out a condition called amyloidosis.
No abnormal tissues are found.
What abnormal results mean
An abnormal result is a sign of amyloidosis.
What the risks are
Damage to the nerve in this area
Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)
If the carpal tunnel biopsy reveals a problem, your health care provider may suggest a carpal tunnel release procedure. Additional surgery to correct or improve the problem may be recommended.
Rajkumar SV, Dispenzieri A. Multiple myeloma and related disorders. In: Abeloff MD, Armitage JO, Niederhuber JE, Kastan MB, McKenna WG, eds. Abeloff’s Clinical Oncology. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2008:chap 110.
Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.