Neurodiagnostic Skin Biopsy

A neurodiagnostic skin biopsy is a procedure that samples the nerves close to their endings in the skin, where disease usually starts.

  • Phone: 617-726-3642
  • Fax: 617-726-2019

Patients suspected of having peripheral nerve disease are first evaluated by tests on muscles (electromyography, or EMG), or by studying how large nerves conduct signals (nerve conduction studies, or NCS). These standard tests are also often used for evaluating patients with suspected neuropathy (nerve injury).  Neuropathy symptoms involving only the nerves that travel to muscles are diagnosed using electromyography and nerve conduction study.


Nearly all parts of the body have microscopic nerves running through them to allow sensation and movement. Skin biopsies can be processed in a way that allows us to see and count the number of sensory nerve endings, and to look for any neural abnormalities.

ReasonsA skin biopsy is useful in diagnosing small-fiber sensory (painful) neuropathies. It samples the nerves close to their endings in the skin – where disease usually starts – which facilitates fine detection of nerve damage. It is important to look for the causes of neuropathies because some are treatable. Some treatments may even help reverse the nerve damage.


Skin biopsy is a minor procedure with no serious complications. However allergies, medications, skin conditions and other medical issues are all evaluated before the procedure is done.

Test Results

Allow one month for your skin biopsy to be processed. For referring physicians within the Partners HealthCare System, results will also be available to Partners physicians by computer through the LMR, CAS or PCIS system.

If the referring physician has not received the results after one month, he or she should call 617-643-2085 to check that the correct name and address were provided to us.

Referrals and Appointments

Referring physicians may initiate a diagnostic skin biopsy request by completing a Requisition Form. To make a request, physicians can download the Requisition Form (PDF), print it, fill it out and fax or mail it to us using the information below. Please call us at 617-643-2085 if you have any questions. When the referral is approved, we call patients to schedule their appointment.



Updated 5/1/2012