If a provider suspects that a spot or growth is skin cancer, a skin biopsy may be ordered. In a biopsy, a sample of tissue from the suspicious area is removed and examined under a microscope. Dr. Patel, can you tell us more about skin biopsies?
Absolutely, Dr. Mayzik. There are four common types of skin biopsies, including shave biopsy, punch biopsy, incisional biopsy, and excisional biopsy. The type of biopsy used depends on several factors, including the size and location of the suspicious area.
Keep in mind that a biopsy may leave a small scar. Different methods can produce different types of scars, so talk to your provider about scarring before the procedure. Skin biopsies are done using a local anesthetic, or numbing medicine. In most cases, any discomfort during or after the biopsy should be minimal. The biopsy may be performed in the provider’s office or as an outpatient procedure in a clinic or hospital.