Neuromuscular biopsies from 18 patients with proximal muscle weakness were classified electromyographically as myopathy (11 cases), denervation (3 cases), or inconclusive (4 cases). Myopathic changes of muscle fibers occurred In all biopsies. Small angular dark fibers were observed in nine biopsies, and small-group atrophy in four biopsies from the three above-mentioned groups. Two biopsies classified as denervation showed large-group atrophy. Terminal innervation ratio (TIR) was increased only in the three cases classified as denervation and in one inconclusive case. TIR, which is more closely correlated with electromyographic (EMG) results than are muscle fiber changes, may help differentiate spinal muscular atrophy from limb-girdle muscular dystrophy.