A skin biopsy is a procedure in which a sample of skin tissue is removed, processed, and examined under a microscope.
Several 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 Reference skin cancer Opens New Window, which may be suspected when an abnormal area of skin has changed Reference color Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window, Reference shape Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window, size, or appearance or has not healed after an injury. Skin cancers are the most common type of cancers.
Early diagnosis of a suspicious skin lesion and skin biopsy can help identify skin cancers and lead to early treatment.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference March 28, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Alexander H. Murray, MD, FRCPC - Dermatology