biopsy is a procedure in which a sample of skin tissue
is removed, processed, and examined under a microscope.
different methods may be used to obtain a skin sample, depending on the size
and location of the abnormal area of skin, called a skin lesion. The skin
sample is placed in a solution, such as formaldehyde, or in a sterile container
if infection is suspected. In each of these procedures, the tissue is processed
and then examined under a microscope.
Skin biopsies most often are
done to diagnose
skin cancer, which may be suspected when an abnormal
area of skin has changed
shape , size, or appearance or has not healed after an
injury. Skin cancers are the most common type of cancers.
diagnosis of a suspicious skin lesion and skin biopsy can help identify skin
cancers and lead to early treatment.
Why It Is Done
A skin biopsy is done to diagnose
- Skin condition (if it is not already clear what
the condition is), such as
- Disease, such as skin
- Bacterial or
fungal skin infection.
How To Prepare
Before a skin biopsy, tell your doctor
- Are taking any medicines, particularly
anti-inflammatory medicines such as prednisone. Anti-inflammatory medicines may
change the way your biopsy looks under the microscope.
- Are allergic
to any medicines.
- Have had any bleeding problems or are taking
blood-thinning medicines, such as aspirin or warfarin (Coumadin).
- Are or might be pregnant.
No special preparation is needed before having this
You may be asked to sign a consent form. Talk to your doctor
about any concerns you have regarding the need for the test, its risk, how it
will be done, or what the results will mean. To help you understand the
importance of this test, fill out the
medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).