Skin Biopsy
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

What is Skin Biopsy?

A skin biopsy is the removal of a small portion of abnormal skin. The removed skin is tested to see why it is not normal. There are three main types of skin biopsies:

  • Shave biopsy—The outer part of the suspect area is removed.
  • Punch biopsy—A small cylinder of skin is removed using a punch tool.
  • Excisional biopsy—The entire area of abnormal skin is removed.

Punch Biopsy
Punch Biopsy
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A skin biopsy is used to evaluate and/or remove an area of abnormal skin. It is most often done for the following reasons:

  • To diagnose bacterial, viral, or fungal infection, cancer , inflammatory skin disorders (such as psoriasis ), or benign skin growths
  • To verify the presence of normal skin at the edge of an area where a tumor was removed
  • To monitor the effectiveness of a treatment

Possible Complications

Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have a skin biopsy, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Poor wound healing
  • Scarring
  • Nerve damage

Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

  • Immunosuppression
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Circulatory problems

Call Your Doctor

After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:

  • Signs of infection, including fever and chills
  • Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or discharge from the incision site
  • Pain that you cannot control with the medicines you have been given
  • Any new symptoms

In case of...