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Skin Biopsy

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 What is a skin biopsy?
 When is it used?
 How do I prepare for this procedure?
 What happens during the procedure?
 What happens after the procedure?
 What are the risks of this procedure?

What is a skin biopsy?

A skin biopsy is the removal of a small piece of skin for lab tests. It may be done to help diagnose a problem with the skin. Another name for this procedure is cutaneous biopsy.

When is it used?

Reasons for doing this procedure may include:

The biopsy helps your healthcare provider make a more accurate diagnosis, which will help determine the right treatment for problems you may be having. It will also help your provider to predict the probable course or results of a disease.

You may choose not to have this test. Ask your healthcare provider about your choices for treatment and the risks.

How do I prepare for this procedure?

What happens during the procedure?

This procedure is done in your healthcare provider’s office or at a clinic.

In most cases your healthcare provider will numb your skin with a spray or shot of local anesthetic. It should keep you from feeling pain during the biopsy.

There are different types of skin biopsy.

What happens after the procedure?

After the procedure you may stay in a recovery area for a short time and then you can go home.

Follow your provider's instructions for taking care of your wound. You may have some soreness around the cut for 1 or 2 weeks.

You will likely have a small scar from the biopsy.

Ask your healthcare provider:

Make sure you know when you should come back for a checkup.

What are the risks of this procedure?

Your healthcare provider will explain the procedure and any risks. Some possible risks include:

There is risk with every treatment or procedure. Ask your healthcare provider how these risks apply to you. Be sure to discuss any other questions or concerns that you may have.

healthinformatics info


http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003840.htm accessed 03/15/12.

Reszko A, Aasi SZ, Wilson LD, et al.: Cancer of the skin. In: DeVita VT Jr, Lawrence TS, Rosenberg SA: Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2011, pp 1610-33.

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Last Modified: 2012-06-30

Last Reviewed: 2012-03-15

Website Updated: October 2014

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This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.

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