During an excisional biopsy, the doctor removes an entire lump or an entire area of abnormal skin, including a portion of normal skin. Stitches are generally used to close the biopsy site after this procedure.
Shave biopsies remove only a superficial layer of skin. You may have some bleeding, but stitches aren't necessary. If you have a punch or excisional biopsy, your doctor may use a couple of stitches to seal up the wound. In most cases, the whole procedure only takes about 15 minutes.
Most biopsy sites heal within 2 to 3 weeks.
Your biopsy site will be covered with a pressure dressing. This should be left in place and kept dry for 24 hours. After 24 hours remove the bandage and begin once daily wound care as follows: Clean the wound with warm soapy water (use a gentle soap like Dove) with a Q tip or gauze pad.
Your doctor will notify you of the time for suture (stitch) removal, usually about 5 to 14 days following the procedure. Sometimes your doctor may have used only one stitch to to close a punch biopsy site.
Usually 1-2 stitches will be required to close the biopsy site or if the wound is small, it may heal adequately without a stitch. Tape or a small dressing is usually applied to the site. This should be left in place for approximately 24 hours.
An office-based procedure is a minor surgery, such as a biopsy, that is done an office setting on an outpatient basis, usually with some level of anesthesia.
While a biopsy may sound scary, it's important to remember that most are entirely pain-free and low-risk procedures. Depending on your situation, a piece of skin, tissue, organ, or suspected tumor will be surgically removed and sent to a lab for testing.
Without stitches, it may take 3 weeks or more for a wound to heal. Prolonged healing time isn't only a nuisance, it's also an infection risk. The risk of a wound infection continues as long as the wound hasn't healed. This is especially important to keep in mind if you have diabetes or you are immunocompromised.
Showers are fine starting the day after the biopsy. Leave the band-aids in place while you shower and change them after you dry off. During the time period of daily band-aid changes, do not soak in a bath or swim. The average time for daily band-aid changes is 5 to 6 days (range is from 1 or 2 days up to 2 weeks).
Often the size does not exceed 2 to 7 mm in width, depending on how large of a problem area we are testing. This is about the size of a pencil eraser. The depth of the biopsy is also a few millimeters down into the dermis or deep to superficial fat called the subcutaneous fat.
After a skin biopsy, there is less risk of infection than there is risk of developing an allergic reaction to the antibiotic ointment. Cover the wound with an adhesive bandage or sterile gauze and paper tape. Moist, covered wounds heal faster. Keeping the wound moist and covered also helps to avoid a scab.
What percentage of skin biopsy results indicate cancer? One study found that skin cancer was detected by biopsy in 44.5% of cases. 11 Most of these cases were highly treatable basal cell carcinomas.
Apply ice packs to biopsy site the first several hours after surgery. Wear a good support full cup bra after surgery until incision and breast soreness disappear. You may even want to wear a bra at night to help alleviate any discomfort. If the bra causes discomfort, then you may choose not to wear one.
After the tissue sample is taken, it will be examined under a microscope to help identify the nature of the problem. This often means that a definite diagnosis can be made.
A skin biopsy is a routine procedure performed by dermatologists: A sample of skin is removed to diagnose a skin lesion or mole. A small amount of anesthetic numbs the skin, allowing the procedure to be almost painless. At most a biopsy feels like a slight pinch as the anesthetic is being injected.
Any biopsy will probably leave at least a small scar. Different methods can result in different scars, so if this is a concern, ask your doctor about possible scarring before the biopsy is done. Skin biopsies are done using a local anesthetic (numbing medicine), which is injected into the area with a very small needle.
A surgical biopsy is a procedure that involves the surgical removal of tissue from a lump or mass for examination under a microscope.
After your biopsy
You might be able to go back to normal activities as soon as the test is over. Or you may need to rest at home for some time or stay in the hospital to begin your recovery. If your anesthesia includes a sedative, you need someone to drive you home afterwards.
The biopsy site may feel sore for several days. You may have a bruise on the site. It can help to walk, take pain medicine, and put ice packs on the site. You will probably be able to return to work and your usual activities the day after the procedure.
The majority of biopsies performed to diagnose skin cancer involve a minor surgery. This may require local anesthesia and usually does not require hospital stay.
The surgeon makes a cut into the affected area, and the tissue is removed. A laparoscopic biopsy uses much smaller surgical cuts than open biopsy. A camera-like instrument (laparoscope) and tools can be inserted. The laparoscope helps guide the surgeon to the right place to take the sample.
All tissue that is removed is sent to a laboratory, where a pathologist will examine it under a microscope. The results will be available in about a week. If all the cancer and a margin of healthy tissue are removed during the biopsy, this may be the only treatment you need.
Suspicious mammographic findings may require a biopsy for diagnosis. More than 1 million women have breast biopsies each year in the United States. About 20 percent of these biopsies yield a diagnosis of breast cancer. Open surgical biopsy removes suspicious tissue through a surgical incision.