If your Dermatologist suspects a mole or a small area of skin to be abnormal, he/she may recommend a skin biopsy. Skin biopsies are relatively simple and pain-free procedures that can be completed in our office. There are multiple types of biopsies that can be performed: shave, punch, excisional, or incisional biopsies. A shave biopsy is completed by shaving a thin layer of skin off a lesion or mole. Punch biopsies allows the Dermatologist to remove multiple layers of a lesion via a small circular incision using a tool called a punch. Excisional biopsies allow the Dermatologist to remove the entire lesion using a scalpel. Incisional biopsies are used when the Dermatologist wants to remove a small sample of a large lesion.
During the biopsy, the Dermatologist will apply a numbing injection or cream that will prevent you from feeling any pain. Depending on the size of the lesion and/or amount of skin removed, you may only need to wear a Band-Aid while the area biopsied heals. If your incision was larger, you may need stitches, but you will not feel pain thanks to the numbing injection or cream.
After your biopsy, we will send your tissue to the lab for evaluation. The lab will be able to determine if there is any abnormality, such as skin cancer, present in the area biopsied. Most results are available within 1 – 2 weeks and we will call you with the results.
While any type of incision may seem scary, skin biopsies performed in our office are very simple and require no downtime. You may have some soreness after the numbing injection wears off, but usually an over-the-counter medication such as Tylenol, will relieve your discomfort.
If you have noticed any abnormal spots on your skin, please call us today at to schedule an appointment.
Disclaimer: This blog provides general information and discussion about medical, cosmetic, mohs, and surgical dermatology. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately-licensed dermatologist or other health care worker.