If the doctor believes that a suspicious looking spot might be melanoma, the area will be excised and sent to a laboratory for assessment under a microscope. This is known as a skin biopsy.
There are various techniques to perform a skin biopsy. Factors such as the size of the affected region and its location on the body among others will determine the dermatology technique chosen by the doctor. A small scar may result from any biopsy. Different scars can result from different types of techniques.
Therefore, the patient should discuss the possibility of scarring before undergoing the biopsy. Regardless of the type of biopsy done, the goal should be to excise as much of the suspicious looking area as possible to enable the pathologist to arrive at the right conclusion.
A local anesthetic (numbing medication) is used while doing a skin biopsy. This drug will be injected into the area using a fine gauge needle. The patient will likely feel a tiny prick as well as a stinging sensation as the medication enters the bloodstream. However, the biopsy should be painless after receiving the anesthetic.
Suncoast Skin Solutions, led by board certified dermatologist Dr. Christopher Ewanowski, provides suitable, judicious, and poignant skin care treatments to patients in Tampa, Brandon, Lutz, Seminole, Riverview, Brookesville, Winter Haven, Daytona Beach, Largo, St. Petersburg, Ocala, The Villages Central Florida, Florida, and surrounding locations.
Shave (Tangential) Biopsy
In this biopsy, the doctor will shave off the uppermost skin layers with a small surgical blade. The doctor will apply an ointment to the biopsy site which is a chemical to stop the bleeding, or a small electric current to cauterize the wound.
A shave biopsy is used to diagnose various types of skin conditions and in sampling moles with low melanoma risks. In general, this type of biopsy is not be used if the probability of melanoma is high unless the biopsy blade will penetrate deep enough to get beneath the suspicious area.
A punch biopsy involves the doctor using an instrument that appears as a small round cookie cutter to excise a deeper skin sample. The doctor will rotate the punch biopsy tool on the skin until it penetrates all of the skin layers. The sample is taken out, and the edges of the biopsy wound are usually sutured together.
Incisional and Excisional Biopsies
A doctor will need to perform an incisional or excisional biopsy to evaluate a tumor that might have grown into the deeper skin layers. In such biopsies, a surgical knife is used to penetrate the entire thickness of the skin. This procedure removes a wedge or slice of skin for assessment, and the wound edges are typically sutured together.
An incisional biopsy eliminates only a part of the tumor. An excisional biopsy removes the complete tumor. Therefore, it is usually the preferred technique of biopsy for suspected melanomas if it can be undertaken. However, excisional biopsies are not always possible, and other types of biopsies may be required.
Laboratory Tests of Biopsy Samples
The biopsy samples are sent to a lab. A doctor known as a pathologist will view these samples under a microscope to detect the presence of any melanoma cells. Mostly, skin samples are sent to a dermatopathologist who is a doctor with specialized training in assessing skin samples.
The focused Dr. Ewanowski’s skin care clinic is equipped to provide advanced medical and aesthetic skin care solutions to patients in Tampa, Brandon, Lutz, Seminole, Riverview, Brookesville, Winter Haven, Daytona Beach, Largo, St. Petersburg, Ocala, The Villages Central Florida, Florida, and other communities and cities in this part of the state.
SunCoast Skin Solutions Dermatology offices are located in Tampa / Hillsborough, St. Petersburg / Pinellas County, Brandon, Lutz (2 locations), Winter Haven, Largo, Riverview, Brooksville, Ocala, Largo at Bardmoor, Daytona Beach, Sarasota, and Palm Harbor, Florida. Contact us at 1-844-786-3376 or click here.