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World J Clin Cases. Feb 16, 2014; 2(2): 27-31
Published online Feb 16, 2014. doi: 10.12998/wjcc.v2.i2.27
Unilateral peripheral neuropathic pain: The role of neurodiagnostic skin biopsy
Michelangelo Buonocore
Michelangelo Buonocore, Unit of Clinical Neurophysiology and Neurodiagnostic Skin Biopsy, Fondazione Salvatore Maugeri, Scientific Institute of Pavia, 27100 Pavia, Italy
Author contributions: Buonocore M contributed to the manuscript.
Correspondence to: Michelangelo Buonocore, MD, Clinical Neurophysiology Unit, “Salvatore Maugeri” Foundation-Scientific Institute of Pavia, Via Maugeri 10, 27100 Pavia, Italy.
Telephone: +39-382-592392 Fax: +39-382-592020
Received: October 3, 2013
Revised: December 9, 2013
Accepted: December 17, 2013
Published online: February 16, 2014
Core Tip

Core tip: The demonstration of a lesion or disease involving the somatosensory system is mandatory for the diagnosis of definite neuropathic pain. Unfortunately, none of the currently available methods is suitable for every type of nerve lesion. Neurodiagnostic skin biopsy (NSB) is an objective method to measure the density of epidermal sensory small fibers. In case of unilateral nerve lesions, it goes beyond the diagnostic possibilities of neurophysiological tests, allowing the diagnosis of axonal neuropathies of peripheral nerves supplying every body part covered by skin. For these reasons, NSB represents a precious tool for the diagnosis of peripheral unilateral neuropathic pain.