19 Dec Skin biopsy
Alternative Names: Punch biopsy, Skin scraping
During a skin biopsy, a small tissue sample is removed and sent for laboratory analysis. The test is done to assess skin damage (lesions), possibly caused by skin cancers, skin infections, or allergic and other skin rashes. A local anaesthetic is injected under the skin to numb it. Then the doctor may:
- shave off a thin layer of skin (a shave or scrape);
- use a special needle-like instrument to remove a cylinder of tissue (a punch biopsy); or
- remove (excise) the lesion and some surrounding tissue and stitch (suture) the wound closed.
What is it?
A skin biopsy is a test where a small tissue sample is removed and sent to a laboratory for testing.
A skin biopsy can be performed at your doctor’s rooms, a clinic, or in a hospital. It takes less than an hour to complete.
Why is it done?
A skin biopsy is done to assess skin lesions such as:
- Skin cancers
- Skin infections
- Allergic skin rashes
- Other skin rashes
Before – how to prepare
No special preparation is necessary.
During – how the test is done
The area of skin is thoroughly cleaned and local anaesthetic is injected under the skin, to numb the area. There are 3 main methods of performing a skin biopsy:
- A shave or scrape – where a thin layer of skin is shaved off
- A punch biopsy – where a special needle-like instrument removes a cylinder of tissue
- An excision biopsy – where the doctor excises (removes) the lesion as well as some surrounding tissue, suturing (stitching) the wound closed.
There may be some pain and discomfort but the local anaesthetic should minimise this.
After the test
You will have a dressing over the wound and, depending on the exact procedure performed, you may have sutures in place that need to be removed later.
Risks and Compilations
There is a risk of bleeding and a risk of infection but these are not common problems.
During a skin biopsy, a small tissue sample is removed and sent for laboratory analysis.
punch biopsy, skin scraping, skin biopsy