- What Is
- Reasons for Biopsy
- Skin Biopsy Types
- Skin Biopsy Results
What is a skin biopsy?
- A skin biopsy is the removal of a piece of skin for the purpose of further examination in the laboratory using a microscope.
- Skin biopsies are performed to diagnose a number of conditions.
- Biopsies are not meant to actually treat a skin condition.
What does a skin biopsy diagnose?
What are the different types of skin biopsy?
Different techniques are used in different situations. Typically the biopsies are obtained after using local anesthetics to numb the area to be biopsied.
- A shave biopsy takes a thin slice off the top of the skin to be examined under the microscope.
- A punch biopsy takes a core (a small cylindrical fragment of tissue from the area of interest) and can be used to diagnose rashes and other conditions.
- Excisions are usually larger and deeper and are used to completely remove an abnormal area of skin such as a skin cancer. These are not technically biopsies since the goal of this procedure is to remove the whole lesion rather than to remove a small portion to make a diagnosis.
How long does it take to get skin biopsy results?
- After the biopsy, the skin sample is fixed in a special solution, and thin sections of the tissue are cut and placed on microscope slides.
- The slides are stained for examination by a doctor (usually a dermatologist or pathologist).
- Sometimes specialized stains are used to examine for antibodies, immune proteins, and other markers of certain diseases.
- Initial routine biopsy results can be obtained in 48 hours or less, while specialized staining techniques can require a longer time until final results are available.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Alguire, Patrick C., M.D. Et al. "Skin biopsy techniques." UptoDate.com. Updated Nov. 2, 2015.
Top Skin Biopsy Related Articles
Athlete's FootAthlete's foot (tinea pedis) is a skin infection caused by the ringworm fungus. Symptoms include itching, burning, cracking, peeling, and bleeding feet. Treatment involves keeping the feet dry and clean, wearing shoes that can breathe, and using medicated powders to keep your feet dry.
Atopic DermatitisEczema is a general term for many types dermatitis (skin inflammation). Atopic dermatitis is the most common of the many types of eczema. Other types of eczema include: contact eczema, allergic contact eczema, seborrheic eczema, nummular eczema, stasis dermatitis, and dyshidrotic eczema.
CancerCancer is a disease caused by an abnormal growth of cells, also called malignancy. It is a group of 100 different diseases, and is not contagious. Cancer can be treated through chemotherapy, a treatment of drugs that destroy cancer cells.
How Do You Infiltrate Local Anesthesia?Local infiltration anesthesia is the technique of producing loss-of-sensation restricted to a superficial, localized area in the body. A low concentration of anesthetic agent is infiltrated into the tissues in the area that requires anesthesia. This is often used for dental surgery and minor skin surgeries.
Jock ItchJock itch is an itchy red rash that appears in the groin area. The rash may be caused by a bacterial or fungal infection. People with diabetes and those who are obese are more susceptible to developing jock itch. Antifungal shampoos, creams, and pills may be needed to treat fungal jock itch. Bacterial jock itch may be treated with antibacterial soaps and topical and oral antibiotics.
Keratosis Pilaris (KP)
Keratosis pilaris (KP) is a common skin disorder in which small white or red bumps appear around hair follicles on the upper arms, thighs, buttocks, and cheeks. The cause of KP is unknown. There is no cure for keratosis pilaris, and the condition may resolve on its own. Gentle exfoliation, professional manual extraction, chemical peels, and microdermabrasion, along with topical products, are the best treatments for this condition.
Men's Cancer SymptomsSee pictures of which 15 cancer symptoms men ignore such as skin changes, difficulty swallowing, rapid weight loss, a breast mass, and more. Learn possible clues to finding and detecting cancer early.
Mohs Surgery for Skin CancerMohs micrographic surgery is a method of removing skin cancers with a local anesthetic. During the procedure, small layers of skin are removed and examined under a microscope until the skin samples indicate that all the cancer has been removed.
Moles PictureMoles are growths on the skin that are usually brown or black. See a picture of Moles and learn more about the health topic.
Skin RashThe word "rash" means an outbreak of red bumps on the body. The way people use this term, "a rash" can refer to many different skin conditions. The most common of these are scaly patches of skin and red, itchy bumps or patches all over the place.
Skin Cancer QuizWhat causes skin cancer? Take our Skin Cancer Quiz to learn about the risks, symptoms, causes, and treatments for this common skin condition that affects millions of people worldwide.
Skin Cancer SlideshowDiscover the causes, types, and treatments of skin cancer. Learn how to prevent skin cancer and how to check for melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma. Also, find out how to spot the early signs of skin cancer.
Skin QuizWhat's that all over you? Skin, of course! Test your knowledge of your most amazing organ with the Skin Quiz!
Skin Tag RemovalA skin tag is a small benign growth of skin that projects from the surrounding skin. Skin tags can vary in appearance (smooth, irregular, flesh colored, dark pigment, raised). Skin tags generally do not cause symptoms unless repeatedly irritated. Treatment for skin tag varies depending on the location on the body.
What Does a Dermatologist Do?A dermatologist is a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of health conditions of the hair, nails, and skin. They can diagnose and treat more than 3,000 diseases of the skin, hair, and nails, as well as cosmetic concerns.
Female Cancer SymptomsCancer symptoms can surprise women if they don't know what to watch out for. 15 cancer symptoms women ignore such as weight loss, bloating, breast changes, unusual bleeding, skin changes, difficulty swallowing, indigestion, and more. Learn possible clues to finding and detecting cancer early.