A skin cancer biopsy involves extracting and testing a portion tissue from your skin to check more closely for skin cancer and other types of cancers.
If any unusual spots have been brought to your attention whether through an at-home self-screening or through a visit to Drs. Gary and Kristina Goldenberg’s office, a biopsy is used to either confirm or deny the presence of cancer. Our doctors will recommend a biopsy for their patients when there is presence of an abnormal or discolored growth or mass on the skin, as these are often the first signs of skin cancer. Early detection increases the likelihood of successful treatment and elimination of melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma or basal cell carcinoma. It is for this reason that our doctors always stress to their patients how important it is to practice proper sun protection, regularly monitor the skin and check for visible changes.
Skin biopsies can vary greatly in how invasive they are. For the most part, however, the process involves a doctor extracting a specified amount of tissue from the affected region of the skin. Depending on the size, shape, and texture of the lesion, the doctor will use special techniques to perform the type of biopsy needed.
The most common type of skin biopsy that our doctors use to check for skin cancer is called the shave biopsy. During this technique, the doctor numbs the area to be removed, and uses a blade similar to a razor in order to remove the lesion. The skin sample removed will be sent to a pathologist for testing.
Another common biopsy technique is the punch biopsy. Our doctors commonly use this technique to remove lesions that are abnormal but not cancerous. During this technique, the doctor will numb the area of the skin to be removed, and will then extract the tissue with a cylindrical, hollow blade. The punch biopsy instrument used will vary in circumference depending on the size of the lesion to be removed.
Normal skin cells can also be tested using a biopsy. In this way, the doctor can assess the health of other tissues around the body and monitor the potential spread of the skin cancer.
There is no prep necessary for a biopsy aside from mental preparation. In fact, the biopsy can often be completed in the same appointment in which the lesion was initially discovered. Be sure to inform your doctor of any other health conditions you may have, as well as of any medications you are taking. In this way, risk of any complications during your biopsy is greatly reduced.
An accurate, comprehensive skin biopsy can take up to 10 days to analyze from the time that your doctor conducts the test. Our doctors are happy to discuss any and all concerns you may have about your test results. He will explain your condition to you along each step of the way, and is devoted to helping you make honest, informed decisions when moving forward with your treatment.
After your biopsy, it is completely normal for your skin to feel somewhat sore or sensitive.
Board certified dermatologists Gary and Kristina Goldenberg treat each patient as an individual. They understand that this may be a difficult time in your life, and are fully sensitive to any feelings or fears you may have toward getting a biopsy. They will be there to assure you during the entire process. They are experts in the detection and treatment of skin cancer and are thereby highly qualified to suit your medical needs. Dr. Gary Goldenberg is also board certified dermatopathologist. If you live in or in close proximity to New York City, contact our office today to schedule a consultation appointment with one of our dermatologists. Our doctors also see many international patients. Contact our office if you are an international patient and special accommodations are needed.
Reviewed by Dr. Goldenberg