What is a Skin Biopsy?
If you have been to the dermatologist chances are you may have heard the word biopsy. What exactly is a skin biopsy and what can it tell us? A skin biopsy is when a small sample of skin is taken from the body and sent to a dermatopathologist for testing. A dermatopathologist is a medical doctor trained in looking at skin and making diagnosis based on the different skin findings. A biopsy can tell us if a lesion is benign or malignant. It can also give us clues about rashes and what maybe causing them to occur.
During a biopsy the skin will be cleansed and an anesthetic will be injected into the surround skin. This can cause a temporary sting or burn that lasts only a few minutes. Once the skin has been anesthetized, a portion of the lesion will be removed with either a scalpel or with a cookie cutter device. The wound will then be closed with either cautery or a suture depending on the type of biopsy that was performed. Results are generally sent back to the dermatologist within two weeks. Most biopsies can be done on the same day as your visit.