Why May You Need A Skin Biopsy?
Skin biopsies are used to either rule out or diagnose skin diseases and conditions. They can also be used in order to get rid of skin lesions. A skin biopsy can be required in order to help treat or diagnose skin disease and conditions such as:
- Suspicious moles or other growths
- Skin tags
- Cancers (skin), including melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and basal cell carcinoma
- Psoriasis, dermatitis, and other inflammatory skin conditions
- Bullous pemphigoid and other blistering skin disorders
- Actinic keratosis
What To Expect From Skin Biopsies
Depending on where the skin biopsy is located, you may be asked to change into a clean gown. Your doctor will then clean the area of the skin that is going to be biopsied. We may use a surgical marker in order to mark the skin. You will then receive a local anaesthetic so that the biopsy site is numbed. You should not feel any discomfort or pain during the skin biopsy.
The exact procedure will depend on the type of biopsy you are going to have. If you are having an excisional biopsy or a punch biopsy, the procedure will involve the top layer of fat beneath the skin being cut into. Because of this, to close the wound, stitches may be required. An adhesive bandage or dressing will then be placed over the site so that bleeding is prevented and the wound is protected.
If you are having a shave biopsy, your doctor will use a scalpel, double-edge razor, or a sharp tool to cut the tissue. The depth of the incision is going to differ depending on the part of the body being biopsied and the type of biopsy. A shave biopsy will cause bleeding. However, pressure will be applied to the area in order to stop the bleeding. Topical medication may also be applied to the biopsy site.
Caring For The Biopsy Site While It Heals
While the site of the biopsy is healing, make sure you do the following:
- Use an adhesive bandage, which will enable the skin to ventilate, to cover the site.
- Use a clean towel to pat the site dry.
- Rinse the site well.
- Use soap and water to wash the biopsy site. You should use shampoo if the biopsy site is on your scalp/
- Make sure you wash your hands with water and soap before you touch the biopsy site.