Journal Articles

Human Skeletal Muscle Biopsy Procedures Using the Modified Bergström Technique

September 10, 2014

Human Skeletal Muscle Biopsy Procedures Using the Modified Bergström Technique JoVE Clinical and Translational Medicine, Sept 10, 2014, R. Andrew Shanely1,2, Kevin A. Zwetsloot2, N. Travis Triplett2, Mary Pat Meaney1,2, Gerard E. Farris3, David C. Nieman

Human Performance Laboratory, North Carolina Research Campus, Appalacian State University, 2College of Health Sciences, Appalachian State University, 3Department of Emergency Medicine, Carolinas Medical Center NorthEast


The percutaneous biopsy technique enables researchers and clinicians to collect skeletal muscle tissue samples. The technique is safe and highly effective. This video describes the percutaneous biopsy technique using a modified Bergström needle to obtain skeletal muscle tissue samples from the vastus lateralis of human subjects. The Bergström needle consists of an outer cannula with a small opening (‘window’) at the side of the tip and an inner trocar with a cutting blade at the distal end. Under local anesthesia and aseptic conditions, the needle is advanced into the skeletal muscle through an incision in the skin, subcutaneous tissue, and fascia. Next, suction is applied to the inner trocar, the outer trocar is pulled back, skeletal muscle tissue is drawn into the window of the outer cannula by the suction, and the inner trocar is rapidly closed, thus cutting or clipping the skeletal muscle tissue sample. The needle is rotated 90° and another cut is made. This process may be repeated three more times. This multiple cutting technique typically produces a sample of 100-200 mg or more in healthy subjects and can be done immediately before, during, and after a bout of exercise or other intervention. Following post-biopsy dressing of the incision site, subjects typically resume their activities of daily living right away and can fully participate in vigorous physical activity within 48-72 hr. Subjects should avoid heavy resistance exercise for 48 hr to reduce the risk of herniation of the muscle through the incision in the fascia.


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