SkinCare in Wellesley, MA
Skin biopsies are a routine part of dermatologic care, but patients who are unfamiliar with the procedure may be concerned or curious about what to expect. Dr. Rashel Goodkin is an expert dermatologist who performs biopsies with the utmost care, so patients can feel as comfortable and confident as possible through the procedure.
What are Skin Biopsies?
Skin biopsies are procedures in which a small amount of skin is removed to screen for various conditions. This sample of removed skin is then examined in a laboratory setting so your dermatologist can make an accurate diagnosis. There are three main types of skin biopsy: shave biopsies, punch biopsies, and excisional biopsies.
When are Skin Biopsies Necessary?
A skin biopsy is ordered when Dr. Goodkin cannot diagnose your skin condition by a visual examination or other test alone. Some examples of conditions that require a biopsy include:
- Skin cancers
- Actinic keratosis
- Blistering skin disorders
- Inflammatory skin disorders, such as dermatitis or psoriasis
- Skin infection
- Abnormal moles or growths
Skin Biopsy Procedure
Before your skin biopsy, Dr. Goodkin will thoroughly clean the area, and may mark the skin with a pen as a guide for the incisions. Then, a local anesthetic is used to numb the biopsy site.
During a shave biopsy, Dr. Goodkin will use a scalpel or razor to carefully shave part of the tissue away. This causes some bleeding, which is stopped by applying pressure to the area followed by topical medication.
A punch biopsy involves using a circular tool to remove a small, round portion of the skin. Excisional biopsy uses a scalpel to remove skin. In either procedure, Dr. Goodkin will commonly use sutures to close the excision before placing dressing or bandages over the site.
Skin biopsies are not painful and can often be completed in about fifteen minutes or less.
After a Skin Biopsy
Immediately after your skin biopsy, you may experience some bleeding, so Dr. Goodkin will advise you to leave any bandages or dressings in place until the following day. This wound should heal well within a couple of weeks. Once healed, a small scar will remain. This scar should continue to fade for one to two years after the procedure and should be inconspicuous.
After your skin biopsy, Dr. Goodkin will send your sample to a laboratory to make a diagnosis. Patients generally receive the results of these tests within several days to a couple of weeks, depending on the laboratory and the condition being tested for.
Schedule an Appointment
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Goodkin, call 781.227.7977 or request an appointment through our online form.