Skin biopsy is required in the diagnosis of some skin diseases and a dermatologist may recommend it after an examination or dermoscopy. If the origin or the clinical picture of a disease are unclear, a biopsy is the only way to make a more accurate diagnosis.
A biopsy is the removal of tissue from the patient’s body to examine it for disease. Tissue sample cells are examined by a pathologist. A pathologist studies a small cutout of the skin under a microscope and, according to the distribution of the cells, gives a more accurate diagnosis. In some skin diseases, this is necessary in order to determine an adequate therapy or to expand the intervention.
Skin biopsy is, most often, used to diagnose or help in the treatment of following skin conditions and diseases:
- Suspected skin cancer
- Different types of warts
- • Irregular or new moles
- Unclear inflammatory skin conditions
- Actinic keratoses
- Bullous skin diseases
- Suspected autoimmune diseases
Skin Biopsy — Experiences
A dermatologist in local anaesthesia performs a skin biopsy. After administering an anaesthetic injection with a help of a scalpel or a special instrument called a punch, a very small portion of the diseased skin is taken. The cutout is up to 5mm in size.
The skin sample is then sent for a pathohistological analysis performed by a dermatopathologist.
The biopsy procedure takes about ten minutes and is slightly unpleasant. Thanks to local anaesthesia, a patient feels no pain.
If necessary, the wound is sutured, and threads are removed after seven to ten days, the scar is almost imperceptible. If sutures are not needed, the wound is coagulated with radiofrequency and the scab falls off in 7 to 14 days. During this period, skin stretching or prolonged wound wetting should be avoided. The wounds on the legs and feet heal more slowly than those on other parts of the body.
The biopsy will leave quite a small scar that can be treated with creams and gels, and in some cases with laser. The possibility of keloid appearance is small, since the minimal damage is made to the skin and it occurs in genetically predisposed individuals.