Skin Biopsy

What is a Skin Biopsy?

A skin biopsy is a procedure in which a small piece of skin is removed and examined in order to diagnose skin conditions. It is used to diagnose skin diseases including skin cancer, psoriasis, eczema, and more. It can generally diagnose any type of abnormal skin lesion or skin disease.

Preparation for Skin Biopsy

Before undergoing a skin biopsy, the doctor will discuss the details of the procedure. This includes what type of biopsy will be performed, how it is done, and the potential risks and benefits. Generally, the patient will be asked to remove any makeup, lotion, or creams that may be on the skin before the procedure.

Skin Biopsy Procedure

During the skin biopsy procedure, the doctor will use a local anesthetic to numb the area. The doctor will then use a scalpel to remove a small section of the skin, which will be sent to a laboratory to be analyzed. The procedure is generally completed within 30 minutes.

Types of Skin Biopsies

  • Punch Biopsy: This procedure uses a round blade to cut a 2-3mm circular piece of tissue. Punch biopsies are used for superficial lesions.
  • Shave Biopsy: This procedure uses a blade to cut and shave off the top layers of the tissue. Shave biopsies are used for lesions on the surface of the skin.
  • Incisional Biopsy: This procedure is used for larger, deeper lesions. An incision is made to remove a larger portion of tissue, which can be up to 1cm in width.
  • Excisional Biopsy: This procedure is used for lesions that are larger, deeper, or have not responded to other treatments. It involves surgically removing the entire lesion.

Risks of Skin Biopsy

A skin biopsy is generally a safe procedure, but there are some risks associated with it. Potential risks include infection, excessive bleeding, and scarring. Additionally, the biopsy results may not be conclusive, meaning further testing may be required to diagnose a skin condition.

Why is a Skin Biopsy Done?

A skin biopsy is used to diagnose a variety of different skin conditions. It may be used to confirm a diagnosis, evaluate an abnormal rash, or remove suspicious moles. Additionally, it can help identify bacteria or fungus that may be causing a skin condition.

When is a Skin Biopsy Needed?

A skin biopsy may be needed when a doctor suspects a specific skin condition, or finds a suspicious skin lesion. Generally, it is recommended if a skin condition has not been adequately diagnosed or if the patient has had no improvement with other treatments.