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Skin Biopsy

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

A skin biopsy is a procedure used to remove a small piece of skin for testing. Part or all of a skin lesion (affected area of skin) may be removed. A punch biopsy allows the whole thickness of a very small piece skin to be taken.

HOW TO PREPARE:

Before your procedure:

  • Write down the correct date, time, and location of your procedure.
  • Tell your healthcare provider if you have a bleeding problem, or blood disorder.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN:

What will happen:

  • Your healthcare provider will clean the skin where he will do the biopsy. Medicine called anesthesia will be given to numb the biopsy area. This medicine will be given with a shot into the skin.
  • Your healthcare provider will stretch the skin around the biopsy area to make the skin tight. The biopsy punch tool will be firmly placed on the area where the skin sample will be taken. Your healthcare provider will turn or move the punch tool back and forth to cut the skin. The wound may then be closed with tapes or stitches. Your healthcare provider may put medicine on your wound to stop the area from bleeding. The sample taken will be sent to a lab for tests.

After your procedure:

A bandage will cover the biopsy area to keep it clean and dry. The bandage will help to protect the area from infection. When the procedure is over, you may be able to go home. You will return to your room, or stay in your room, if you are a hospital patient. You may have some bleeding, oozing, redness, or swelling after the biopsy. These are normal. You may also have pain during the first 24 to 48 hours after your procedure.

CONTACT YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IF:

  • You cannot make it to your procedure on time.
  • You have a skin infection, or a new sore near the biopsy area.
  • You have questions or concerns about your skin biopsy.

Risks

  • A skin biopsy may cause you to bleed from the biopsy area, or get an infection. You may have bruising, swelling, or pain in the area where the biopsy was done. You may have scarring from where the skin tissue was removed. You are at higher risk of having problems healing after your procedure if you smoke, or take steroid medicines. You may have an allergic response from the numbing medicine used for the procedure.
  • If you do not have a needed skin biopsy, you may have a serious skin or nerve condition, and not know it. Serious skin and nerve conditions left untreated may cause you to have lifelong problems and illness.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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