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Skin Biopsy

A skin biopsy is a medical procedure in which a small sample of skin tissue is removed for examination under a microscope. The sample is typically taken using a local anesthetic to numb the area, and a small piece of skin is removed using a scalpel or punch biopsy tool.

The procedure usually takes less than 30 minutes to complete, including preparation and recovery time.


Depending on the location and size of the biopsy, patients may experience some discomfort or pain during the procedure, but this can usually be managed with local anesthesia and over-the-counter pain relievers.

Skin biopsies are commonly used to diagnose a variety of skin conditions, including:

  • Skin cancers such as melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma

  • Inflammatory skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, and lupus

  • Infections such as fungal or bacterial infections

  • Autoimmune skin diseases such as pemphigus and bullous pemphigoid

  • Genetic skin disorders such as ichthyosis and epidermolysis bullosa.

The results of a skin biopsy can help doctors determine the best course of treatment for these conditions, including surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or other therapies.


Possible Complications:

Skin biopsies are generally considered safe and effective, but like any medical procedure, they do carry risks of complications such as bleeding, infection, or scarring. 

What are the steps involved in a skin biopsy? MassGeneralHospital

Skin Biopsy After Care from The American Academy of Dermatology Association Printable Handout

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