If you notice a concerning rash or mole on your skin, it is a good idea to get it evaluated. After checking the area, a skin biopsy may be recommended. Skin biopsies are important in the verification of diagnosis. They can be used to confirm that a skin tumor is benign or to diagnose skin conditions such as eczema. Here is everything you need to know about your first skin biopsy:

Skin Check

If you are about to receive a skin biopsy, you were likely referred by a dermatologist. If you have a skin concern, your dermatologist will evaluate it during an office visit. You may choose to see a dermatologist for reasons such as a particular skin lesion, worsening rash, or changing appearance of a mole.

Skin Biopsy Referral

After getting a rash, lesion, or mole examined, you will be asked questions regarding its history. Your dermatologist will decide if a skin biopsy is necessary. If so, a well-developed lesion will be chosen. Following a total body skin examination, the most worrisome lesion(s) are biopsied.

Local Anesthetic

The biopsy area is cleansed and a local anesthetic is injected to numb the area using a very fine needle. You will feel a slight pinch and brief burning sensation as the anesthetic is injected. If you are receiving your biopsy on a taut area of skin, such as the fingers or toes, you may experience a feeling of pressure.

Biopsy Performed

The type of biopsy needed is determined by the size and location of the lesion, the depth of the skin concern, and the information being sought. Types of biopsies include shave biopsies, saucerization, punch biopsies, and excisional biopsies.

Post-Operative Care

Speed your skin’s healing by keeping the biopsy site moist with ointment, which will help prevent scabbing and minimize scarring. You may see redness at the edge of the wound. However, expanding redness, fever, chills, pus, or significant pain can be signs of an infection.

Process The Tissue

Different skin conditions can look similar to the naked eye, so additional information is obtained by looking at the structure of the skin under a microscope after the cells have been stained with special colored dyes. It is examined for signs of abnormal cells, damaged cells, the presence of infections, and other factors. Skin biopsies are key to diagnosing many skin conditions, leading to quicker, more effective treatment. They can also tell if your skin condition is harmless. If you would like to schedule an appointment to diagnose your skin condition, give us a call at (919) 557-6400 or schedule an appointment online.