A skin biopsy is a technique wherein a skin lesion is removed and sent to a laboratory for diagnosis or to rule out an illness. Because some skin conditions to look similar to the naked eye, microscopic examination may be needed to provide the proper diagnosis. Skin biopsies are more often performed when a dermatologist is trying to distinguish between different types of rashes or skin lesions or to confirm the existence of skin cancer.
There are three major types of biopsies: A shave biopsy, a punch biopsy, and an incisional biopsy. The least invasive is a shave biopsy, where your dermatologist will remove only the outermost layer of skin. With a punch biopsy, a small chunk of skin is removed using a sharp, hollow instrument. This is for deeper lesions. Stiches may be required. An incisional biopsy removes the entire lesions. Stitches will be necessary.
With each of biopsy, a type of anesthesia or numbing agent will be used. A dressing will be applied after the biopsy, and you will need to keep that on for at least 24 hours after the biopsy. The area may be tender afterward.
You will likely bleed a small amount during the procedure, and there is a risk of scarring or infection.