Skin biopsy is a technique in which a skin lesion is removed to be sent to a pathologist to render a microscopic diagnosis. It is usually done under local aesthetic in a dermatologist’s office and results are available in 4-10 days.
There are four main types:
All skin biopsy is done to diagnose a skin condition if it is clinically not clear.
E.g. Papulo-squamous disorders, Blistering disorders, precancerous growths.
Several different methods may be used to obtain a skin sample depending on the size and location of the skin lesion. Sample is placed in formaldehyde solution or in a sterile container if infection is suspected. Tissue is examined under a microscope.
Shave Biopsy- After a local anesthetic, a surgical scalpel is used to shave off the growth. Stitches are not needed.
Punch Biopsy- After local anesthetic, a sharp tool (PUNCH) is placed over lesion, pushed down, and slowly rotated to remove a circular piece of skin. Skin sample is lifted up with forceps and cut from tissue below. Stitches may be required if sample is bigger.
Excisional Biopsy- After local anesthetic injection, entire lesion is removed with a scalpel.
You will feel a brief stinging pain when local anesthetic is injected. You should not feel any pain when sample is removed.
Your doctor will give both specific instructions on how to care for your biopsy site. Keep the site clean and dry until it heals completely. Stitches will be taken out 3-4 days after biopsy, depending upon site.