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How a Skin Biopsy Works

Find out what is involved in a skin biopsy from board-certified dermatologist Ahmet Altiner in this Howcast video.


A skin biopsy is a simple and short procedure performed in the office by a dermatologist. Oftentimes, it takes less than five minutes.

It involves injecting a little bit of numbing medication into the lesion and then using a blade to remove it. Oftentimes, a little bit of bleeding is present which is easily controlled with medicine and sometimes a stitch. The stitch will need to come out in one to two weeks, depending on the location of the biopsy.

Most pathology reports will be ready by one to two weeks after the biopsy. During this time, your dermatologist will ask you to take care of the biopsy site by putting a little bit of Vaseline and a Band-Aid on it and changing it twice a day. The majority of the time skin biopsies result in minimal to no scarring. However, if it's in a cosmetically sensitive area like the face, it's important to discuss this with your dermatologist prior to getting the biopsy.

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