What is a Lesion Biopsy?

A skin lesion biopsy is a procedure in which a small tissue sample is removed from a skin lesion. The sample is typically tiny, about the size of a grain of rice. This sample is then processed by lab technicians and examined under a microscope.

Lesion biopsies are usually used as an early diagnosis tool in the fight against skin cancer. Biopsies can also help detect skin conditions that may be hard to diagnose and to catch fungal and bacterial infections. There are three chief methods of biopsies employed:

  • Punch biopsy: In which a small round tool is used like a cookie cutter to extract a sample.
  • Shave biopsy: In which a scalpel is used to slice a sample from the growth.
  • Excision biopsy: In which the entire lesion is removed.
  • Each method produces a small wound at the site that may or may not need stitches to close. A biopsy carries a small risk of infection, persistent bleeding, or scarring. Your doctor may give you specific instructions about how to care for the wound site after the procedure. If your biopsy site exhibits excessive bleeding or drainage or increased pain, redness, tenderness, or swelling, contact your doctor.