A skin biopsy is a medical procedure in which a skin sample is removed from the surface of the body to collect cells for testing to diagnose skin conditions or diseases. The sample is sent to a lab for testing to help a doctor rule out certain problems and determine the seriousness of present conditions.
There are three types of skin biopsies including:
After the skin is numbed with local anesthetic the doctor will use a small, circular tool to remove a small section of the skin, which may include several levels of the skin including the epidermis, dermis and superficial fat for testing.
After the skin is numbed with local anesthetic the doctor will use a scalpel to remove an abnormal portion of skin or a lump and some of the surrounding normal skin for testing.
After the skin is numbed with local anesthetic the doctor will use a small razor or scalpel to remove the outermost layers of the skin for testing, including the epidermis and part of the dermis.
When do you need a Skin Biopsy?
A skin biopsy procedure is performed whenever there is sufficient concern over a certain area of the skin that seems to be affected by a skin condition or disease. It’s usually performed when a doctor is trying to diagnose or treat diseases and conditions such as:
- Skin Tags
- Skin Infection
- Actinic Keratosis
- Skin cancers such as squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma and melanoma.
- Suspicious growths or moles
Your doctor will give you a set of expectations and ways to prepare depending on the biopsy method that will be used on you as an individual. Once the sample has been sent to a lab for testing there will be a waiting period that lasts anywhere from several days up to a couple of weeks depending on the condition and what type of biopsy was performed.
Before you undergo a biopsy, it’s a good idea to write down any questions you might have for your doctor regarding not only the procedure itself, but what type of results are possible and what kind of follow-up steps you might be expected to take for treatment.
Contact Us Today for more Information!
If you have a suspicious lesion, lump, wart, mole, or any other abnormal looking patch of skin that you are concerned about, be sure to schedule an appointment with Dr. Wright, a top dermatologist in St. Louis, MO, to have it looked at. We will let you know if a skin biopsy is needed to determine your condition and treat it appropriately.