WHAT IS A BIOPSY?
A biopsy is sometimes suggested to assist with diagnosis. A small sample of skin is taken from an area of abnormality and examined under a microscope by a pathologist. In most cases an accurate diagnosis can be made, but if not, there is usually enough information to guide treatment.
IS IT PAINFUL?
A small amount of local anaesthetic is injected with a fine needle to numb the skin before the biopsy is taken. There is an initial sting that quickly settles. After this, the procedure is pain free. The numbing will last about an hour.
AFTER THE BIOPSY
Bleeding is stopped usually by dabbing on an ointment, which leaves a black scab. The scab will fall off in a few days. Sometimes a small dissolving skin stitch is used, this usually falls out by itself in 2 weeks. The biopsy leaves a small pit in the skin, like an ulcer, which normally heals quickly within 1 - 2 weeks.
By 6 weeks it can be difficult to detect the area of biopsy.
CARE OF THE SKIN
Skin biopsies in the genital area usually heal very well with out any problems.
Salt water baths or soaks help with healing, are soothing and reduce risk of infection. Apply 1 fistful of salt to a shallow warm bath or 1/4 teaspoon of salt to a cup of water and soak for 10 - 15 minutes, 2 - 3 times a day for 5 - 7 days.
Topical local anaesthetic (2% xylocaine gel) can reduce discomfort in the first few days after the biopsy. It can be used as often as needed, and is especially helpful if there is pain with toileting (apply 10 minutes beforehand). It does sting for a short while after applying.
Sometimes an antibiotic ointment is dispensed to reduce the risk of infection at the biopsy site,
Can be started once the area is comfortable to touch.
This fact sheet is designed to provide you with information on Skin Biopsy. It is not intended to replace the need for a consultation with your doctor. All clients are strongly advised to check with their doctor about any specific questions or concerns they may have. Every effort has been taken to ensure that the information in this pamphlet is correct at the time of printing.Last Updated October 2017