Answer Bank

Frequently Asked Questions


Are biopsies of the small intestine conclusive?

Generally, antibody blood tests and biopsies are sensitive and specific enough to clearly diagnosis celiac disease. However, because no test is perfect, a firm diagnosis should include antibody blood screening, biopsies and response to a gluten-free diet. Although biopsies are the standard for diagnosis, periodically they do not lead to a clear diagnosis. Many factors can contribute to an unclear biopsy, such as:
  • Incorrect orientation of the biopsies when taken from the small intestine.
  • Insufficient number of biopsies from a broad sample of the small intestine.
  • Inexperience of the pathologist.
  • Gluten-free diet started prior to biopsies.
June, 2013