A skin biopsy is removal of a piece of skin (all or part of a lesion, part of a rash, etc). The piece of skin is then sent to a dermatopathology lab, where it is made into a slide and read by a dermatopathologist. A dermatopathologist is a pathologist who specializes in reading skin biopsies. The pathology report tells us what is going on in the skin. If the biopsy shows skin cancer, further surgery is often required to completely remove the skin cancer. A punch biopsy is done with a small round knife and requires sutures (stitches) to close the skin. The sutures will be removed in one or two weeks, depending on the body site. A shave biopsy is done with a blade to shave off a small piece of skin. Your doctor will decide which type of biopsy is needed depending on the lesion. All biopsies are done with local anesthesia and performed by your physician.
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