A biopsy is a tissue sample that the doctor will take for closer examination. Typically, they will make such an examination if they find something abnormal and potentially serious. Biopsies are most often taken when the doctor suspects a patient has cancer, but they can be used to help diagnose other conditions.
Types of Biopsies
There are many types of biopsies, and most of them involve removing a small tissue sample with a sharp instrument. Needle biopsies are the most common type, and there are several variations. In a needle biopsy, the doctor uses a needle to extract tissue from a suspicious mass.
Doctors will often use needle biopsies if they feel tumors or lumps beneath the patient’s skin, like enlarged nymph nodes or lumps on the breast. If the doctor can’t feel any lumps but is still suspicious, they may combine the needle method with an imaging device, like an X-ray.
Surgical or open biopsies may be used in cases in which the needle biopsy proved inconclusive or couldn’t be used in the first place. There are two types of surgical biopsy. In an incisional biopsy, the doctor will remove part of the mass for analysis; in an excisional biopsy, they will remove the whole thing. Surgical biopsies are outpatient procedures.
As skin cancers are the most common types of cancer, several different methods have been devised to perform skin biopsies. In a shave biopsy, the doctor injects the patient with a local anesthetic and then uses a scalpel to scrape off the growth. They then sterilize and bandage the site.
In an excision or excisional biopsy, the doctor removes the whole growth. If the excision site is large, the patient may need a skin graft. In a punch biopsy, the doctor uses a tool that looks like a miniature cookie-cutter. They place it over the site, push it down and slowly twist it around in order to remove a circular piece of skin.
Schedule Your Skin Exam Today
During an appointment at Dr. Yeoman’s Dermatology Office, our doctor can evaluate your skin and pinpoint anything that is a cause for concern. If a biopsy is taken, it’s going to be for your benefit to ensure that nothing more serious is happening. If something harmful is found in the sample, our team of experts will work with you to come up with a treatment plan that is right for you. We have offices in Poplar Bluff and Paragould. Contact us today to schedule your dermatology appointment.