Skin Biopsy

A skin biopsy is a procedure in which a doctor cuts and removes a small sample of skin to have it tested. This sample may help your doctor diagnose diseases such as skin cancer, infection, or other skin disorders.

There are several types of skin biopsy, including:
Shave biopsy: The doctor shaves a thin layer from the top of a lesion.
Punch biopsy: The doctor uses an instrument called a punch to remove a circular section through all layers of the lesion.
Excisional biopsy: The doctor uses a scalpel to take off the entire lesion. This method is used for smaller lesions.
Incisional biopsy: The doctor uses a scalpel to remove a small sample of a large lesion.

How Is a Skin Biopsy Done?

The doctor will first cleanse the biopsy site, and then numb the skin by using an anesthetic (pain-relieving) injection. The skin is then sampled using one of the above procedures. Shave biopsies do not usually need stitches, while punch, excisional, and incisional biopsies will sometimes be closed with sutures or steri-strips. The procedure is usually done in the doctor’s clinic.

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