Skin Biopsy – What, When, Why, How, Where?

So your Dermatologist has just advised that you need a Skin Biopsy and that they will do it now in the procedure room.
Let us reassure you that this procedure is a common procedure performed in many doctors rooms particularly to diagnose conditions affecting the skin.

At Lotus Dermatology we make the procedure as painless as possible and keep you reassured and informed throughout the process.

Why a Skin Biopsy?

A skin biopsy allows a sample of the skin structure to be examined under the microscope by a Dermatopathologist for our Dermatologists to assess what is occuring in the skin. This process usually takes between 7-10 days.

So what can you expect when having a Skin Biopsy?

Firstly the doctor will discuss with you the reasons for the biopsy. The area will be marked using a marker that easily washes off. The Registered Nurse will then use local anesthetic to inject the area ensuring that any pain you may feel during the procedure is reduced.

The doctor will then take the Biopsy using one of the following methods;

1. Punch Biopsy:

The Dermatologist takes a round core of tissue often only requiring one suture (stitch) which allows the Pathologist to see a particular view of the skin.

2. Shave Biopsy:

Where the Dermatologist suspects the skin affected is only on the top layers of the skin so a shave of the skin is taken using a blade. There are usually no stitches required for this type of biopsy and the wound should heal within 1-2 weeks.

3. Incisional Biopsy:

Where the Dermatologist determines a larger piece of skin is required to confirm a diagnosis. This area will be removed and the wound will be sutured together if required.


Are there any risks involved with having a biopsy?

Skin biopsy is usually a minor procedure and complications are uncommon however sometimes the following can occur:

* Bleeding -is common for patients who are on blood thinners, aspirin, nurofen or regularly take fish oil. This is controlled by applying fingertip pressure to the area for 5-10mins.

* Infection of wound or delayed healing- this is more common in the elderly, diabetics or immunocompromised patients. A review by the doctor will manage this occurrence.

*  Abnormal scarring reaction is rare but can occur.


The Lotus Team