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Me and My Nerve Biopsy
  1. Richard Hughes
  1. Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Guy’s, King’s and St Thomas’ School of Medicine, London, UK


I have always felt that if you are going to ask a patient to undergo a procedure you should be able to say that you would be prepared to have it done to you. I was also aware that many senior investigators were walking around with telltale scars at the back of their calves. So when I needed a piece of really normal nerve to compare with my patients’ nerves there was no escape. Ignoring the unkind comment from a ‘friend’ that it was presumptive to assume that any nerve of mine would be normal, I asked my surgeon to perform a partial thickness biopsy of the right sural nerve, the opposite side from an old L5-S1 disc prolapse. We discussed ethical committee approval but agreed at the time that it was unnecessary. Halcyon days! I slipped surreptitiously into the day case surgery unit and, disdaining to take off my

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