What is a Skin Biopsy?
A skin biopsy is a diagnostic test that involves removing a tissue sample and examining it under a microscope. This test is used to identify suspicious lesions and to differentiate normal cells from abnormal ones.
Reasons for Skin Lesion Biopsies
Skin lesion biopsies are performed when simple visual examination by the physician is insufficient to make a clear cut diagnosis. Such biopsies are done in order to make a definitive diagnosis of:
- Skin infections which may be fungal, bacterial or viral
- Skin growths like moles, warts, or seborrheic keratosis
- Precancerous lesions like actinic keratosis
- Bullous pemphigoid and other blistering skin disorders
- Dermatitis, such as eczema or psoriasis
- Skin cancers, including basal cell, squamous cell, and melanoma
The Skin Lesion Biopsy Procedure
Since a local anesthetic will be administered prior to the biopsy, the procedure will not be painful. Depending on depth of involvement, Dr. Jessica Kim will determine if a superficial shave biopsy or a deeper punch biopsy is required. Following the biopsy, the tissue sample is stored in a preservative solution or a sterile container until it can be processed at a pathology laboratory. Once the specimen has been prepared and thoroughly examined under a microscope, a diagnosis will be made to determine what the course of follow-up treatment, if any, should be.
Results and Further Treatment After Skin Lesion Biopsy
It may take several days to 2 weeks to receive laboratory results, depending on the type of biopsy that has been performed and on the types of testing required. Depending on what the laboratory results show, medication may be prescribed, further excision may be necessary, or, in the case of serious malignancy, radiation or chemotherapy may be required. In many cases, where the biopsy shows no abnormality, there will be no further treatment necessary.
Cosmetic Dermatologist Serving Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater, Tacoma, Puyallup, Gig Harbor, Centralia, Shelton, Federal Way & surrounding areas in Washington.