Biopsy

What is a Skin Biopsy?

A skin biopsy procedure involves the removal of a skin lesion for analysis and diagnosis. A doctor can excise the skin using a number of techniques, including punch biopsy, shave biopsy and excisional biopsy. Skin cancer biopsy is one of the primary methods used to diagnose skin cancer.

How Does a Biopsy Work?

A biopsy works by taking a small sample of tissue from a suspect area in the body so that it can be tested under lab conditions for certain diseases and disorders. Biopsies can take several forms. Some biopsies involve excising a small sample of tissue from the skin using a circular blade. A needle biopsy involves the insertion of a needle into suspicious tissue to pull a sample from within an expression, cyst or tumor. There are also a number of biopsies that use CT scan and ultrasound techniques to assess an affected area. What biopsy will be used depends on the area of the body affected as well as the disease or disorder that is suspected.

Conditions Diagnosed by a Biopsy

A biopsy is used most commonly to identify whether damaged or affected cells are cancerous. A punch biopsy, for example, might be used on skin tissue that is suspected to have developed melanoma. Biopsies are also used in the assessment of moles. It is important to remember that a biopsy is not a confirmation that a disease such as cancer is present; it is an essential step in the diagnostic process used to rule out disease.

What Happens After a Skin Biopsy?

Patients may be expected to keep a bandage over the biopsy site for a day. The would should be cleaned and tended until the wound has healed. It is recommended that patients avoid any movement or exercise that can stretch or aggravate the site of the skin biopsy.

When Are Skin Biopsy Results Ready?

How long does it take to get skin biopsy results? Skin biopsy results generally take 1 to 2 weeks, but this skin biopsy results time frame can vary from patient to patient and depends on what condition the biopsy is meant to diagnose. Any delays in skin biopsy results can occur due to a variety of reasons, including both technical and medical reasons.

Are There Any Risks From a Skin Biopsy?

A skin biopsy is a simple, fast and generally safe procedure, but there can be some risks involved, including:

  • Scarring
  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Bruising
  • Allergic reaction to the topical antibiotic

Good skin biopsy aftercare is one of the most important steps patients can take to ameliorate risks associated with the procedure, including wound infection after biopsy. If itching after skin biopsy occurs, patients should avoid scratching and aggravating the wound. Does a skin biopsy hurt afterwards? Patients may experience skin biopsy pain afterwards that can be managed with OTC analgesics in most cases. Patients may also see bruising after a skin biopsy. Most patients are left with a skin biopsy scar, the size and intensity of which depends on the size of the lesion and the type of procedure used.

Conditions We Treat


We recommend consulting a specialist to help determine if a biopsy is the best treatment option for you.

Moles

Moles are a common skin condition in which a cluster of pigmented cells create a distinct skin growth. Learn More

Skin Cancer

There are many types of skin cancer but the most common are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Learn More

Melanoma

Melanoma is the most serious kind of skin cancer. Melanin is created by cells called melanocytes and gives your skin its particular color. Learn More

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