Why Would a Dermatopathologist Take a Biopsy?
What Is a Biopsy?
A biopsy is a sample of body tissue that is taken to test for abnormalities, usually cancerous cells. The tissue is reviewed under a microscopic lens so that your doctor can make an accurate diagnosis. A biopsy is an important step in the process of properly treating someone who may be at an increased risk for cancer.
Biopsies can be done on any part of the body, but they are very commonly done on areas of the skin. Skin growths, like moles, scars, and ulcers could potentially have precancerous or cancerous cells that need to be removed before they spread to other organs. A skin biopsy is an important preventative step if your dermatologist determines that you’re at a higher risk of skin cancer due to heredity, history, the presence of many skin moles, or significant sun exposure. The first step is a general screening, which can be done at home, at a screening location in your area, or at your dermatologist’s office. Check for skin growths that are asymmetrical, irregular, strangely colored, growing in diameter, or evolving in some way.
The Appointment and Aftercare
Going to see your dermatologist for a biopsy will normally take about 15 minutes to an hour of your time. Once the areas of concern are identified, you’ll relax in your seat while a bit of skin tissue is excised or shaved and placed into a tray. Your doctor may administer a local anesthetic to make the experience more tolerable. A bit of pressure and a band-aid is all you’ll likely need to cover the skin after a biopsy procedure—any bleeding or irritation should subside after a day or so.
Have Your Skin Checked
Early detection of a skin condition can help you prevent a more serious diagnosis. See your dermatopathologist for regular checkups and tests. Biopsies are a common recommendation for patients who may have abnormal skin cells.