Answer Bank

Frequently Asked Questions


I’m concerned about my child having a biopsy. Is it really necessary in children? Can my child have the biopsy when he is older?

While it is understandable for parents to be concerned about this procedure, there are several important facts to consider. First, the procedure takes 10-15 minutes, during which the child is under general anesthesia and closely monitored by a team of anesthesiologists and an experienced physician. Second, research shows that children diagnosed before the age of 4 reduce their risk of developing additional autoimmune disorders. This advantage is tremendous, as children who are diagnosed between the ages of 4 and 12 have a 17% risk; from 12-20 years of age the risk goes up to 27%, and an individual diagnosed above the age of 20 has a 34% chance of developing another autoimmune disorder. Third, the longer a child is on a gluten-free diet the more difficult it becomes to correctly diagnose celiac disease. Clinical experience also shows that children and adults who have not had a biopsy as part of their diagnosis for celiac disease tend to take the diet less seriously causing them to eat gluten when they shouldn’t. February, 2013