Skin Biopsy New York, NY
A skin biopsy is a diagnostic test that can help a primary care doctor detect skin cancer. Cancer refers to a group of diseases wherein some cells in a person's body begin to divide without stopping. They will then spread and affect surrounding tissues. This type of disease can start in any part of the human body. Skin cancer refers to the abnormal growth of a person's skin cells. A way to determine if one has skin cancer or a skin condition is to get a biopsy.
Hearing the word cancer can be frightening. Many people know that it can be deadly. However, the severity of any form of cancer varies. While treatment can greatly improve a patient's condition, it requires a customized plan. Skin biopsies are available at Marina Gafanovich, MD and the surrounding area. Find out more about skin biopsy by contacting us at (212) 548-3263 or visiting our office at New York.
Understanding Skin Biopsy
Skin biopsy can help in the diagnosis of various diseases. Aside from skin cancer, it can also determine if there is an infection or other skin disorder. A skin biopsy refers to the procedure wherein a professional removes a sample of the patient's skin for testing.
The procedure does not require much from the patient. During the procedure, an authorized person will first clean the area where the sample is taken. Then, they will numb the skin using an anesthetic injection. Lastly, they will attain a sample using a syringe just like a normal blood test.
The specimen is placed in a container with a fluid that preserves it. The container will have the patient's name and other details. The physician will describe the appearance of the specimen to the naked eye, including its size and color. The sample will undergo tests and microscopic checks in a laboratory to determine a diagnosis.
“A skin biopsy refers to the procedure wherein a professional removes a sample from a patient’s skin for testing.”
Skin cancer is prevalent and may be caused by a variety of factors. According to a report from the Skin Cancer Foundation, skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States and worldwide. One in every five Americans will end up developing skin cancer by the age of 70.
A primary care doctor understands the risk factors for developing skin cancer and can run preventative measures in cases where a patient is among those more prone to develop it. According to an an article by the World Health Organization, some people have a higher risk of skin cancers due to the lack of skin pigmentation. Individual risk factors include:
- People who have fair skin
- Having blue, green or hazel-colored eyes
- Having natural light-colored hair
- People who tend to burn instead of getting a suntan
- Those who have a history of getting severe sunburns
- People who have many moles and freckles
- Those with a family history of having skin cancer
It is best to understand the risks in order to take extra precautions. Patients who are worried about having cancer should request a biopsy. Some skin cancers can be fatal. However, a study on the early diagnosis of skin cancer, published in the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, reveals that early detection is the most significant step in improving the likely course of the disease.
“It is best to understand the risks in order to take extra precautions.”
Types of Skin Biopsies
No type of procedure fits every patient's needs. There are four main types of skin biopsies. A primary care doctor can discuss them and help patients decide which type is best for them and their unique condition with procedures such as:
- Shave biopsy. When the procedure involves the use of a razor-like tool to remove a small section of the top layers of a patient’s skin.
- Punch biopsy. When a circular tool is in use to remove a small section of the deeper layers of a patient’s skin.
- Excisional biopsy. The use of a scalpel to remove an entire lesion or an area with abnormal skin. A patient will likely receive stitches to close the site of the biopsy.
- Incisional biopsy. Larger lesions or the removal of a small area of a patient’s skin. Some cases would require stitches.
“A primary care doctor can discuss them and help patients decide which type is best for them and their unique condition”
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Preparing for a Skin Biopsy
Before undergoing a skin biopsy, it is important to prepare, both mentally and physically. Patients should be confident and comfortable in their decision to attain a diagnosis and undergo any necessary treatments prior to getting a biopsy. Patients should do as much research as possible and come up with questions to ask the doctor ahead of time.
It is critical that patients tell their doctors about any allergies to medications, especially anesthetics and iodine cleaning solutions. Inform them about all medications currently being taken. The doctor should also be aware of any bleeding problems or the possibility of pregnancy. We will inform patients about fasting and other protocols prior to their appointment.
“It is critical that patients tell their doctor about any allergies to medications, especially anesthetics and iodine cleaning solutions.”
Questions Answered on This Page
Q. What are the four types of skin biopsies?
Q. How do I prepare for a skin biopsy?
Q. What happens after the procedure?
People Also Ask
Q. What does a preventive medicine physician do?
Q. What infections can cause a rash?
The entire process of a skin biopsy takes around 15 minutes. After the procedure, the doctor who took the sample will cover the wound with a sterile surgical dressing. It is important to clean the biopsy site and replace the bandages until the removal of the stitches or when the wound completely heals. Some stitches require a professional's help to remove. However, others will dissolve on their own after a week or so.
Marina Gafanovich, MD will give the patient instructions on how to take care of the biopsy site and the average length of time before the results come out. Typically, healing of the biopsy site takes about two weeks. If there are any concerns about the site or the results are not delivered by the time stated, call us to schedule a follow-up.
“It is important to clean the biopsy site and replace the bandages until the removal of the stitches or when the wound completely heals”
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. When should I consider a skin biopsy?
A. You may realize that you will need a skin biopsy if you have a persistent rash, your skin is rough or scaly, or you have open sores. If you have a mole that has an irregular shape, color, or size, your primary care doctor may wish to do a skin biopsy.
Q. What can I expect after having a skin biopsy?
A. You may experience some soreness near or on the biopsy site for a few days. If you have stitches, make sure you keep the area clean. Over-the-counter pain relievers should help ease any discomfort.
Q. When should I call a doctor after undergoing a skin biopsy?
A. If you notice some bleeding after the procedure, try to stop it by putting direct pressure on your wound. However, call us if you cannot stop it from bleeding within 20 minutes. You may also call if you have any concerns or questions.
Q. How long should I wait to get the results of my skin biopsy procedure?
A. The waiting time may vary. Discuss it with your doctor so you will know when to expect the results. But, typically, results of a skin biopsy come back within one to two weeks.
Q. What are the precautions to be taken after a skin biopsy?
A. It is important to keep the site clean at all times. Wash the area gently with soap and water; do not scrub or scrape the wound. We recommend using your fingers to clean the area and pat or air dry it as a towel could cause irritation. We may also have additional after-care instructions depending on the patient's case.
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By visiting us as soon as possible, our team can help get you the professional treatment you need. Instead of waiting around and allowing the symptoms to get worse, we can provide you with treatment options.
Definition of Medical Terminology
- Allergic reaction
- A condition in which the immune system overcorrects or otherwise reacts abnormally to a foreign substance. These substances, known as antigens, are typically harmless.
- Drugs that treat various allergies, like allergic rhinitis. They work by dampening the effects of histamine at certain cell receptors.
- A hormone and medication also known as adrenaline. Epinephrine is used to treat severe asthma attacks and anaphylaxis.
- Lymph nodes
- Small structures that filter out harmful substances in the body. Various skin conditions may cause lymph nodes to become more solid to the touch.
- Poison ivy dermatitis
- An allergic reaction to the oily coating covering the poison ivy plant. Poison ivy dermatitis can occur even after indirect contact with the plant.
Call Us Today
The results of a skin biopsy can say a lot about your health. If you are interested in learning more about skin biopsy, call us at 212-548-3263. We can answer any questions you may have, give you more information about the procedure, or schedule an appointment.
Helpful Related Links
- American Journal of Medicine. American Journal of Medicine. 2022
- American Medical Association (AMA). American Medical Association (AMA). 2022
- American Society of Clinical Oncology. American Society of Clinical Oncology. 2022
- Cleaveland Clinic Oncologist. Cleaveland Clinic Oncologist. 2022
- National Cancer Institute. National Cancer Institute. 2022
- National Council on Aging. National Council on Aging. 2022
- Skin Cancer Foundation. Skin Cancer Foundation. 2022
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