Discovering a suspicious mole on your body can be alarming and stressful, and it is very important that you have a dermatologist look at it as soon as possible. If your dermatologist suspects that the mole could be cancerous, a skin biopsy will be done and the mole will be removed. When a skin biopsy is performed, you can expect the following:
Right before the procedure, your skin will be thoroughly cleaned and a surgical marker may be used to outline the area of skin that is going to be biopsied. A skin biopsy is done under local anesthesia, so you will be awake but the skin will be numb. Local anesthesia is typically administered with a small needle, and it is possible that you may feel a slight burning feeling for a few seconds as the anesthesia takes affect.
Type of Biopsy
When a mole needs to be biopsied, a dermatologist will typically do either a shave biopsy or a punch biopsy. During a shave biopsy, an extremely sharp scalpel or razor is used to cut off the mole and surrounding tissue. After the shave biopsy is performed, the area will bleed and pressure may be applied to the site.
A punch biopsy is slightly more invasive, and involves removing the mole and layers of tissue and the top fat beneath it. This type of biopsy can leave a small open wound, so stitches may be necessary in some cases.
Caring for the Biopsy Site
After a skin biopsy, it is very important to keep the biopsy site as clean as possible to prevent infection. Always make sure you thoroughly wash your hands before touching the biopsy site. When you shower you should clean the site with a gentle soap and rinse thoroughly. Pat the site until it is dry, and then cover with a clean bandage. Continue this cleaning routine until the stitches are removed if you had a punch biopsy or until the site completely heals if you had a shave biopsy.
Many people develop a scar at the site of a skin biopsy. As you are healing, take care not to bump the area or do anything that can stretch the skin and cause bleeding, as this can lead to a larger scar. While most scars from a skin biopsy are small, some people may end up with a raised scar, especially if the skin biopsy was performed on the neck or torso.
For a local dermatologist, contact a company such as Northwest Dermatology.