Uses of Skin Biopsy
Skin biopsies are used to diagnose skin cancer, as well as unusual rashes or skin disease that does not respond to therapy. Skin biopsies are typically done in office and are relatively painless and completed quickly.
There are two main types of skin biopsies: shave biopsy and punch biopsy.
This is the most common biopsy used in our office. This allows us to control the depth and width of the biopsy. We can remove an entire lesion or simply take a small sample of a spot of concern. There are no sutures required.
We utilize this biopsy more with skin rashes than with “spots of concern”. This device has a circular blade that is rotated back and forth through the layers of the skin. This allows us to sample all three layers of the skin from the top down to the fat layer. These punch biopsy tools come in different widths such as 2 mm, 4 mm, 10 mm, etc. Most of the time we utilize a 4 mm punch tool. This type of biopsy typically requires a suture afterwards to close the skin. When utilizing a 4 mm punch biopsy tool generally only one suture is required. Occasionally, if we are using a 2 mm punch biopsy tool we may allow the skin to heal in by itself without any sutures. Larger punch biopsy tools may require more than one suture.
Skin Biopsy Procedure Steps
The very first thing that happens is the procedure is explained to you from start to finish and then consent forms are signed. The entire procedure, although seems lengthy, takes about 5 minutes.
Possible Biopsy Complications and Risks
Typically, there are three main items to worry about with a biopsy and keep in mind that this is a very low risk procedure.
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