Skin Biopsy (cont.)
Skin Biopsy Preparation
Skin biopsy is routinely done in the doctor’s office. You may be asked to change into a gown or remove an article of clothing so that the area of suspect skin can be more easily seen and removed.
- Tell your doctor if you have any allergies to medications, and especially if you have had any reactions to local anesthetics, such as lidocaine or
novocaine, or to iodine cleaning solutions, such as Betadine.
- Inform your doctor if you are taking any medications, including over-the-counter drugs, street drugs, or herbal or nutritional supplements.
- Tell your doctor if you have any bleeding problems or if you are pregnant.
During the Skin Biopsy Procedure
- The site of the skin biopsy may be cleaned with an iodine-type solution, with alcohol, or with a sterile soap solution. After the skin has been cleaned, sterile towels are placed around the area. Do not touch this area once it has been cleaned and prepared. Many physicians do not go through this process since the chance of an infection after a skin biopsy is very small.
- A local anesthetic, usually lidocaine, is injected into the skin to make it numb. You will feel a brief prick and stinging sensation as the medicine is injected. After the skin is numb, your doctor performs the biopsy.
- The tissue that is removed is sent to the laboratory for analysis by a pathologist.
- If needed, stitches are placed to close the wound.
After the Skin Biopsy Procedure
- Your doctor will put a bandage over your biopsy site. Keep this bandage dry. You may be advised to wash the wound, apply antibacterial ointment or petrolatum (Vaseline) and change the bandage daily.
- If you have stitches, you need to keep the area clean and dry. Follow instructions regarding when and how to wash the wound. Stitches on the face are removed in 5-8 days. Stitches placed elsewhere on the body are removed in 7-14 days. Adhesive strips are left in place for 10-21 days.
- If you have pain at the biopsy site, talk with your doctor about medication to relieve it. In most cases, discomfort is minimal and requires nothing more than an over-the-counter pain medication.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/16/2015
Darilyn Campbell Falck, MD
Scott H Plantz, MD, FAAEM
Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD
Thomas Rebbecchi, MD, FAAEM
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