What is a skin biopsy?
A skin biopsy is a procedure that removes cells or samples of skin tissue from the surface of the body. The sample is then examined in a laboratory to provide more in-depth information about the patient’s health and condition.
Types of skin biopsies
There are three main methods of performing skin biopsies: shave, punch, and incisional.
With a shave biopsy, a skin sample is taken using a tool similar to a razor. In a punch biopsy, the medical instrument used is circular and removes sections of skin deeper in the epidermis, dermis, and superficial layers of fat.
During an incisional biopsy, a scalpel is used to remove an area of abnormal skin tissue, and often additional tissue around the area is also taken as part of the sample for comparison.
Local anesthesia is often recommended for patient comfort. A slight burning sensation may be felt at the application site of the anesthesia but should subside within a few moments. For incisional biopsies, stitches may be needed to close the wound and surgical bandages placed over the site to protect the area during recovery.
Why are they done?
Skin biopsies are performed to rule out or aid in diagnosing serious skin conditions and diseases. Common conditions skin biopsies help diagnose can include:
- Forms of skin cancers
- Skin infections
- Skin tags
- Suspicious moles or growths
When can I expect my results?
After your procedure, your doctor will send the sample to the laboratory for testing. Results may take several days or longer to come back. Your doctor will then schedule an appointment to go over the results with you once they arrive. We encourage you to be active and ask questions during this process to ensure a full understanding of the results.
For more information on skin biopsies or to schedule an appointment, please contact our office today.