Diagnostic Procedures - Biopsy

punch biopsy

What is biopsy?

Skin biopsy refers to a procedure in which a small sample of skin tissue is removed and sent to a laboratory for analysis.

What types of biopsy are performed?

The skin sample is usually tiny, and can be collected in a number of ways. These include:

Shave biopsy

During this procedure, your dermatologist will use a sharp scissor to remove a sample of the outer layer of skin.

Punch biopsy

During this type of biopsy, your dermatologist will use a special instrument to cut a skin sample out.

Excision

In cases where an entire lesion, such as a mole, needs to be removed, your dermatologist will perform an excisional biopsy. Stitches may be used to close the wound after the lesion has been cut out.

Incision

In some cases, just a part of a lesion is removed and sent for further testing.

After the biopsy procedure is complete, your dermatologist will dress the wound with a small bandage. You will be allowed to return home after the procedure, and you will be contacted when your dermatologist has received the results from the laboratory.

Why is it performed?

A skin biopsy may be performed in cases where your dermatologist needs to determine the cause of a condition or growth. Some common reasons for doing a biopsy include moles that have changed in shape, size, or colour; unexplained skin growths; skin cancer; rashes; precancerous cells; and benign growths.

The results of a biopsy will help your dermatologist to determine the cause of a condition or lesion, and will also assist in making an accurate diagnosis, and choosing the most effective treatment method for your particular case.