A skin biopsy is a procedure in which a sample of skin is excised or removed in order to be processed and examined under a microscope.
How it works? During your appointment or consult if we discover an abnormal region of skin or lesion that is worrisome, we will order a biopsy. A sample of the skin is cut from the area and placed in a formaldehyde solution, or in a sterile container. It is then examined under a microscope, from there the size, shape, color, and overall appearance of the cells is judged and a diagnosis is made.
Why do we perform a biopsy? A biopsy is used to diagnose a number of issues, the most common are:
- Serious diseases such as skin cancer.
- Skin conditions that don’t follow normal patterns of diagnosis, and aren’t presenting the way they usually do. Psoriasis can behave this way in early stages.
- Fungal infections
- Bacterial infections
- Viral infections
Pre-Biopsy Depending on what method of biopsy we decide upon and what is suspected we will suggest a few things to do before we remove the tissue. Certain medications must be stopped, depending on what they are they may alter the way the skin looks under the microscope.
The Biopsy Depending on the size, location and the appearance of the skin area or lesions we will suggest a specific type of biopsy.
- Shave biopsy: using a surgical knife or scalpel a layer of the growth is shaved off.
- Punch biopsy: using a punch tool, a circular piece of skin is removed and lifted.
- Excision: using a scalpel we remove the entire infected area or growth.
We use local anesthesia for this procedure, so the pain is minimal. And the wound created is either stitched or bandaged immediately. A scar may develop if a large wound is created, however it is simply the cost to diagnosing what could be a much greater skin issue. The tissue is tested and examined and we will give you your diagnosis. Depending on what the biopsy reveals we will suggest a course of treatment.