If you have a strange mole or skin growth that you think might be skin cancer, a skin biopsy may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis. Desiree Ratner, MD, performs skin biopsies to check for abnormal cells at her practice in the Murray Hill neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City.
A skin biopsy a procedure where Dr. Ratner removes a small sample of cells from your skin. The sample is examined to gather more details about your condition and confirm a diagnosis of skin cancer or determine if you have some other medical condition. Dr. Ratner also uses skin biopsies to remove skin lesions and growths.
Some of the skin conditions Dr. Ratner diagnoses with a biopsy include:
The kind of procedure Dr. Ratner performs determines what exactly happens during your skin biopsy. For all skin biopsies, Dr. Ratner cleans your skin and marks the biopsy site. She injects a local anesthetic to keep you comfortable during the procedure.
There are three different types of skin biopsy:
During a shave biopsy, Dr. Ratner uses a sharp razor or scalpel to scrape a thin layer of cells from the surface of your skin. She applies pressure, a topical medication, and a dressing to stop any bleeding and keep the biopsy site clean.
If you have a punch biopsy, Dr. Ratner uses a special tool to cut a sample of your skin and the fatty tissue underneath. Then, using small forceps she pulls the tissue sample from your skin. Once she has a sample, Dr. Ratner stitches the biopsy site and applies a topical medication and dressing.
Dr. Ratner uses a scalpel to cut away the suspect growth and a perimeter of surrounding skin. The incision site is closed with stitches, and she applies a topical medication and dressing to keep your biopsy site clean and dry.
Dr. Ratner gives you specific instructions for aftercare. In most cases, you leave the dressing in place until the next day. You’ll need to take care to avoid bumping the biopsy site or stretching that part of your skin, as this could open the wound and cause bleeding. You can keep the biopsy site clean with soap and water and pat gently to dry. Keep your biopsy site covered with Vaseline and a bandage while it heals.
Call to book an appointment today for expert skin biopsy services with Dr. Ratner.