A BIG hello to all the pretty-witty IMBB addicts out there! 🙂
This is my first article on IMBB and I must admit, am nervous but extremely excited to be on this ‘Awesome-Blossom’ forum. (Please forgive me for those stupid rhyming words. But I just wanted an expression that would define how awesome IMBB is and I ended up with that phrase!)
Anyway, getting to the article am presenting to you today. It is about ‘Skin Biopsy’. Well, most of you may be going like “Huh? Really?? Why biopsy for a topic??”
But let me tell you, even though the topic seems to be serious and boring (I dare any one of you to call it so..he he…), it’s very helpful to be well informed on such things. As much as we hope and pray that none of us or our loved ones are a part of the scenario where-in a biopsy is required, just in case, we find ourselves involved in such situations, we will at least know some basics and can handle things better. On a lighter note, we can show the stern,’ oh-so-intelligent’ doctor that even we have the necessary medical brains. 🙂
OK. Enough of my blah-blah and let’s jump straight to some basics of ‘Skin Biopsy.’
What is it?
Skin biopsy is a simple medical procedure which involves the removal of a piece of suspected skin to further diagnose or rule out illness.
Generally, a very small piece of skin is removed as a sample which is just enough for lab technicians to conduct various tests to diagnose the possible causes of the lesion.
Why is it done?
To diagnose a:
- Skin growth (such as a mole)
- Skin condition (such as a rash)
- Disease (such as skin cancer)
- Bacterial or fungal skin infection
A skin biopsy is also considered when a mole or any skin abnormality has changed in its shape, colour and size.
How is it done?
The place where the biopsy will be done is cleaned with an alcohol wipe and local anaesthesia will be given to numb the area of incision.
Depending on the location, size and type of lesion, the different types of skin biopsies that are done are:
- Shave biopsy: as the name suggests, in this procedure, the outermost layer of the skin is shaved off using a small blade or surgical knife. This is the least invasive method and does not require stitches. Medicine is locally applied to control the bleeding.
- Punch biopsy: As evident from the name, a sharp, tube like instrument is ‘punched’ through and rotated slowly to get a small cylindrical piece of tissue which can be used for diagnosis of rashes and other such conditions. One or two stitches maybe required in this case.
- Excisional biopsy: This is a surgical procedure in which the entire lesion is removed, while going as deep as required, to cover the entire affected area. Several stitches may be required to cover up the area. In cases where the large area is biopsied, a skin graft or flap of normal skin is used to replace the skin that was removed.
- Incisional biopsy: In this procedure, only a small part of the entire lesion is removed. The procedure is similar to that of the Excisional biopsy. The remaining part of the lesion will be treated after the diagnosis.
Risks involved in getting a skin biopsy done:
- Infection: Although unlikely, there may be slight risks of infection due to exposure of the skin lesion during the procedure.
- Bleeding: Persistent bleeding may occur. However, this can be controlled by applying pressure and bandaging the open area.
- Scars: In some cases, the patient may develop a scar at the site of biopsy.
Post – procedure instructions and care:
- The biopsied area should be kept clean and dry.
- Stitches are generally taken out after 3-14 days after the biopsy. Bandages are removed in 7-10 days, until which they should be kept intact.
- If there is profuse bleeding, increased tenderness, redness and pain at the area where the procedure was done, the patient is advised to immediately consult a doctor.
In most cases, biopsy results may read as one of the following:
- Normal: Where the skin sample taken is normal and disease free.
- Non-cancerous growths: These include warts, keloids, skin tags etc.
- Cancer cells: Such as basal cell cancer, squamous cell cancer or melanoma.
- Other diseases: Like lupus, psoriasis or vasculitis.
Hope you all found this informative! C ya..Until next time…
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