What Is a Skin Lesion
A skin lesion biopsy is a simple
medical procedure in which a sample of your skin is removed and tested in a
sample taken during a biopsy is often very small, sometimes the size of a grain
of rice. The sample size is just large enough for laboratory technicians to
test for various issues that could be the cause of a skin lesion. However, the
biopsy sample may be larger if the entire lesion is removed.
are several ways your doctor can collect a skin sample. The procedure your
doctor chooses will depend on your individual circumstances.
A doctor who specializes in skin (dermatologist) is typically the doctor
who performs a skin biopsy. It’s an outpatient procedure, which means you won’t
have to be admitted to a hospital.
Why Is a Skin Lesion Biopsy
skin biopsy is performed to help determine the cause of a growth, sore, or rash.
This could include:
- changing moles
- chronic bacterial or fungal skin infection
- noncancerous growths
- precancerous cells
- skin cancer
- rashes or blistering skin conditions
The Risks of a Skin Lesion
medical procedure that involves breaking the skin involves the risks of
bleeding and infection. If you have a history of bleeding problems, you should
inform your doctor.
is also a risk of scarring. If your doctor uses an excisional biopsy, you will have
a small scar after the procedure. Other biopsy types rarely leave noticeable
How a Skin Lesion Biopsy Is
skin lesion biopsy requires little preparation from you. If you’re having a
biopsy done on an open wound or infected patch of skin, your doctor will have
to remove any bandaging.
are several ways your doctor may remove a sample of tissue. The method your
doctor chooses for you will depend on the reason for the biopsy location, size,
and type of your lesion or sore.
any type of biopsy, you’ll receive local anesthesia to numb the biopsy site. Possible
methods of collecting a skin sample for biopsy include the following.
- Shave biopsy: Your doctor
will remove only the outermost layers of your skin with a special razor blade
- Punch biopsy: This uses a
small, tube-like instrument with a sharp end that works like a cookie cutter.
Once the right sample is taken, your doctor will remove the skin sample with
tweezers and close the incision with a single stitch.
- Excisional biopsy: This is used to
remove the entire lesion. Your doctor makes an incision and, going as deeply as
necessary, removes the entire lesion. Several stitches are used to close the
- Incisional biopsy: This is used to
remove a small part of a larger lesion. The procedure is the same as with the
your doctor suspects that a growth is caused by the most aggressive form
of skin cancer (melanoma), they
will use an excisional biopsy to remove any potentially cancerous tissue along
with a small border of healthy skin. The sample will then be sent to the lab
the biopsy, the wound will be covered with gauze and other bandaging. You’ll be
able to go home once the sample has been taken.
After a Skin Lesion Biopsy
the tissue sample is taken, it’s sent to a laboratory for testing. It usually takes
about one week for the results to come back, but some tests can take longer. If
it’s an emergency situation, like an aggressive infection or cancer, your
doctor may put a rush on the results.
the results of your tests are back, your doctor may discuss them with you over
the phone or call you into their office for a follow-up appointment to share
your results show signs of cancer or other problems, your doctor will discuss the
next course of action. This may include other tests or treatments.