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What To Expect During A Skin Biopsy

If you’ve gotten your annual physical exam with your primary care physician recently, they may have suggested you see a dermatologist if you have any spots on your skin that should be checked out. More than likely, your dermatologist will want to do a skin biopsy on any areas that appear distorted or irregular. The word “biopsy” can have negative connotation, but in actuality it’s a virtually painless and easy procedure that your dermatologist will use to diagnose or rule out any skin conditions.

Let’s take a look at what to expect during a skin biopsy.

What Is A Skin Biopsy?

A skin biopsy is a technique used to remove a lesion on the skin, which is then sent to a pathologist for analysis. Skin biopsies are generally used to diagnose or rule out any skin conditions such as infections, skin cancers, inflammatory skin conditions and more.

How Does A Skin Biopsy Work?  

During the procedure, your dermatologist will use a local numbing anesthetic on the biopsy area— usually through an injection into the site. There will likely be a slight burning sensation in the area where the anesthetic was received, but it should subside after a few moments.

There are three main biopsy types your doctor may choose from, depending on the goal:

  • Shave biopsy: uses a razor-like tool to remove a small section of the top layers of the skin.

  • Punch Biopsy: uses a circular tool to remove a small section of the skin to include deeper layers.

  • Excisional biopsy: uses a small scalpel to remove an entire lump or area of abnormal skin, often down to the fatty layer of skin.

How Long Does A Skin Biopsy Take?

Usually a skin biopsy takes about 15 minutes total, including the numbing portion of the procedure. It’s quick and relatively painless! Afterwards, your doctor will give you instructions for caring for your incision at home.

How Long Does It Take To Heal From A Skin Biopsy?

Recovering from a skin biopsy is fairly easy! The wound should only take one to two weeks to heal, especially if you’ve taken care to adhere to your doctor’s instructions for caring for the wound. Many biopsies result in a small scar, but the prominence of the scar depends on the patient and their propensity for things like raised, keloid scarring. For patients who want to avoid scarring altogether or drastically reduce the appearance of their biopsy scar, we recommend adding the use of scar products from Rejuvaskin during your recovery process.

Finding A Dermatologist

When it comes to getting a skin biopsy, picking the right dermatologist is crucial. The experienced dermatologists at Academic Alliance in Dermatology have been doing skin biopsies for over 30 years, and we offer biopsies at all of our office locations. If you need a dermatologist in Tampa experienced in skin biopsies, call us today!

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