If you have new or persistent skin issues that may require a more in-depth examination to accurately diagnose or treat, one of the highly trained and experienced providers at The Clinic for Dermatology & Wellness may recommend a biopsy. A biopsy is a minimally invasive procedure that helps to diagnose a wide variety of skin conditions, including:

  • Chronic skin issues, like eczema or psoriasis
  • Fungal or bacterial skin infections
  • Skin cancer

What Happens During a Biopsy?

During a biopsy, your provider removes a small sample of skin for testing. They may want to perform a biopsy if you’ve noticed changes in your skin such as:

  • Rough or scaly skin
  • Persistent rash
  • Sores that won’t heal

A mole or skin growth that is irregular or has changed in appearance.

When you come in for an appointment, your provider will conduct a comprehensive skin exam, and if necessary, perform a biopsy.

What Types of Biopsies Are There?

Depending on what type of skin concern your provider is diagnosing, there are a number of ways to obtain a skin biopsy for testing, including:

  • Shave biopsy: A shave biopsy uses a scalpel or sharp tool to slice a layer of tissue from the lesion targeted for analysis. How deep the shave penetrates depends on what is being biopsied, and the biopsy location. There will be some bleeding, but it generally stops when you apply pressure and a bandage to the wound.
  • Punch biopsy: This type of biopsy utilizes a device called a punch to remove a small, circular section of the lesion, penetrating through several layers of skin. Because this is a deeper wound, you may need stitches and a bandage once the biopsy has been taken.
  • Excisional biopsy: During an excisional biopsy, your provider uses a scalpel to remove the entire lesion for testing. Used to test smaller lesions, this also may require stitches and a bandage.
  • Incisional biopsy: Performed on a larger lesion, this type of biopsy involves the removal of a small sample of a larger lesion.

A skin biopsy is a short, virtually painless procedure, usually lasting no more than about 15-30 minutes.

What to Expect from Your Skin Biopsy Procedure

Depending on the area of skin being biopsied, you may be asked to undress and put on a gown. Your provider will then clean the area to be biopsied, and may outline and/or label the biopsy site with a surgical marker. A local anesthetic is injected into the site to ensure that the procedure is pain-free. The required sample of your skin is taken, and if necessary, the area will be bandaged or stitched up.

After your skin biopsy, you may experience some minor soreness around the biopsied site for a few days. If you had stitches as a part of the procedure, you will need to keep the area as clean and dry as possible, and follow your provider’s instructions for aftercare. All biopsies can result in a small scar, but with proper wound care, the visibility of the scar is typically minimal to none. If you have any concerns, the biopsy site continues to bleed, or you have signs of infection, call The Clinic for Dermatology & Wellness and talk to our staff to ensure that you are healing correctly.

Once the biopsy procedure is complete, the sample is processed, and a pathologist will examine it under a microscope to determine the correct diagnosis. The results of a skin biopsy usually take about one to two weeks to come back, and your provider or their staff will go over the results with you on a phone call or if necessary, at a follow-up appointment.

Take Control of Your Health with an Annual Skin Exam

When it comes to skin cancer, time is of the essence. The sooner potential issues are identified, the higher the likelihood of successful treatment. Yearly skin cancer screenings are the cornerstone of early detection, enabling us to identify any warning signs and act swiftly. Think of your annual skin exam as your proactive step toward a lifetime of skin health.

Your Healthiest
Skin Starts Today

If you are concerned about a suspicious lesion or skin condition, it’s time to visit The Clinic for Dermatology & Wellness for an examination and possibly a biopsy. Call our office today at (541) 200-2777 or book online for an appointment.