What is a skin biopsy?
A skin biopsy is a procedure that removes a small sample of skin for testing. The procedure can help diagnose a skin lesion (an abnormal area of skin). The skin sample is looked at under a microscope to check for skin cancer, a variety of skin conditions, or skin infections. Only certain skin lesions need a biopsy. Your provider may be able to diagnose many types of lesions just by looking at them.
What is it used for?
A skin biopsy is used to help diagnose a variety of skin conditions including:
- Skin disorders such as psoriasis, eczema, actinic keratosis (“precancers”), and warts.
- Bacterial or fungal infections of the skin.
- Skin cancer. A biopsy can confirm or rule out whether a suspicious mole or other growth is cancer. If the result is cancer, the biopsy can show what type of skin cancer it is.
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