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A skin biopsy is a procedure that's used to remove a very small portion of skin so that it may be examined and evaluated under a microscope for signs of disease. Biopsies are used to diagnose a variety of conditions, including skin cancer.
There are several methods for obtaining skin biopsies, including:
Shave biopsy: This approach removes just a thin slice from the surface of the skin and is typically used to remove an abnormal lesion for evaluation. Once the biopsy is done, a sterile bandage will be applied to cover the area.
Punch biopsy: Punch biopsies take a deeper sample of skin using a special tool designed to remove a small, cylindrical sample. Most punch biopsies require only a bandage once the procedure is complete, but larger punch biopsies may require one or two stitches to close the area.
Excisional biopsy: These biopsies are larger and deeper than the other two types and are commonly used to remove skin cancers or other large lesions. Excisional biopsies are often performed after another type of biopsy reveals the presence of cancer. The excisional biopsy will be used to remove the cancerous lesion which will then be evaluated to ensure all the cancer has been removed. Excisional biopsies typically require several stitches to close the area, after which a bandage will be applied.
Local anesthetic is typically applied first to numb the area where the biopsy will be taken.
Skin biopsies are relatively simple, straightforward tests. Be sure to tell your doctor about any medications you're taking including aspirin, vitamins or herbal supplements. Generally, no other preparations are necessary for a skin biopsy.
We accept most PPO insurance plans in addition to Medicare, Blue Cross, Blue Shield, CIGNA, Aetna. Below is a short-list of just some of the plans we accept. Please contact our office if you do not see your insurance provider listed below.