What to Expect During a Skin Biopsy

doctor's hand in medical gloves holding a dermoscope and examining moles

skin biopsy is an outpatient treatment that removes and tests cells. If you have an irregular mole or abnormal tissue, one of Harris Dermatology’s board-certified dermatologists can perform a skin biopsy to rule out any serious conditions. You might feel a little nervous if it’s your first time getting a biopsy. However, there’s nothing to fear when it comes to this common diagnostic procedure.

What Happens During a Skin Biopsy Appointment?

If our dermatologists discover an atypical skin lesion or suspected cancerous moles, they might suggest a same-day biopsy. This quick in-office procedure is typically done with a local anesthetic so you won’t feel any pain. There are several types of skin biopsies, including:

  • Shave biopsy: A razor-like tool is used to remove a small section of the epidermis and dermis.
  • Punch biopsy: Our dermatologist can use a circular tool to remove deeper layers, including the epidermis, dermis, and superficial fat.
  • Excisional biopsy: A scalpel may be used to remove an entire area of abnormal skin.

Our providers will determine the best type of skin biopsy for you. Appointments typically take less than half an hour, including the time it takes to sanitize and numb the area, dress the biopsy site, and provide at-home care instructions.

The sample is then analyzed at a lab to diagnose a variety of conditions. Cancer testing takes place at this stage. A skin biopsy can also diagnose psoriasis, eczema, warts, actinic keratosis, or bacterial or fungal infections.

How Long Does It Take for a Skin Biopsy to Heal?

Most skin biopsies heal in about a week to 10 days. Some areas, like the lower legs, might take longer to heal. Following our providers’ aftercare instructions will support your recovery. You should keep the area clean and dry and avoid submersing the wound in pools, hot tubs, or baths until it’s fully healed.

Schedule Your Skin Biopsy in Fort Meyers or Naples

Our board-certified dermatologists have decades of combined experience. In addition, our patient-focused approach to care ensures you’ll feel comfortable and heard throughout your biopsy or skin cancer screening. To schedule an appointment, call Harris Dermatology’s Fort Myers, Florida office at 239-936-3344, or our Naples, Florida location at 239-596-1848.


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