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Cutaneous Nerve Laboratory

 Founded in 1993 by Justin McArthur, M.B.B.S., M.P.H. and the late Jack Griffin, Johns Hopkins’ Cutaneous Nerve Laboratory was established to develop a better and simpler method of identifying small nerve fibers in the skin that are frequently affected in some types of peripheral neuropathies.

The Cutaneous Nerve Laboratory was the first Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) certified laboratory to use epidermal nerve fiber analysis as a diagnostic tool, and ever since has been at the forefront of assessing the diagnostic and prognostic value of skin biopsies in neurological disease.

We offer these tests to all physicians, with diagnostic services to identify and monitor small fiber neuropathies through minimally invasive 3mm skin punch specimens, which we analyze for epidermal nerve fiber density and morphological changes.

Why choose Johns Hopkins for cutaneous nerve biopsy analysis?

  • Rapid turnaround of results, typically less than 7 days from receipt of sample
  • Biopsy kits with tools and return shipping
  • Assessment of intraepidermal nerve fiber density
  • Evaluation of sweat gland innervation
  • Congo Red staining for amyloid
  • Pathological review of all specimen by neuromuscular trained specialists

Learn More

Patients: Learn about skin biopsy

Physicians: Watch a skin biopsy video or order a test kit and download forms

Flexibility and Convenience for Patients and Physicians

Patients and physicians can choose to perform the biopsy in their office or at Johns Hopkins.

At Johns Hopkins: Patients can have the biopsy performed at either the Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center or the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center.

Outside of Johns Hopkins: The physician can perform the biopsy at his or her office and mail the tissue sample to our laboratory using our biopsy kit. 

Contact us

For more information or to schedule a skin punch biopsy at Johns Hopkins, please call 410-614-6399.

Skin biopsies can:

  • Show abnormal epidermal nerve fiber innervation
  • Detect the severity of neuropathy at sites not easily tested through electrophysiology
  • Reveal abnormal nerve fiber morphology associated with development of neuropathy
  • Provide a pathological alternative in settings where electrophysiology is not available
  • Distinguish neuropathy from other causes of pain

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Maryland Patients

To schedule an appointment for a cutaneous nerve/skin biopsy, please have your doctor contact our office at 410-614-6399
Request an Appointment

Adult Neurology: 410-955-9441
Pediatric Neurology: 410-955-4259
Adult Neurosurgery: 410-955-6406
Pediatric Neurosurgery: 410-955-7337


Traveling for Care?

Whether you're crossing the country or the globe, we make it easy to access world-class care at Johns Hopkins.

Outside of Maryland (toll free)

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International Patients

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