Skin biopsy is a skin testing 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.What are the types of skin biopsy ?
There are four main types:
- Shave biopsy
- Punch biopsy
- Excisional biopsy
- Incisional biopsy
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.
How is it done?
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. Skin 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.
How it feels?
You will feel a brief stinging pain when local anesthetic is injected. You should not feel any pain when sample is removed.
After the biopsy procedure :
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.