Your doctor has recommended that you have a biopsy. This is a very simple procedure which helps in the diagnosis of skin problems. It should not cause anything other than mild discomfort. People who have had a biopsy usually find that it wasn’t as uncomfortable as they had imagined. In terms of overall discomfort, it’s about the same as going to the dentist. Your appointment will last approximately 30 minutes and you should contact us if you are unable to attend on 0141 211 8138
What does a skin biopsy involve?
Everything is done under sterile conditions, to reduce the chance of infection.
- Firstly, the skin will be washed with antiseptic.
- Then, using the smallest needle in the department, local anaesthetic is injected under the skin to freeze the area.
- Once the skin is completely frozen, a small piece of skin (no more than half a centimetre) is removed and sent to the laboratory for testing.
- To help the skin heal, a brown liquid is placed at the site of the biopsy. Sometimes a dissolvable stitch may be used to help close the break in the skin. This will come out by itself in seven to ten days.
- It is important to keep the area clean afterwards. To do this, wash the area twice a day for the next 4 days. Plain water or salt water (a teaspoonful of salt in a tumbler of water, or half a cupful in the bath) are best. Do not use antiseptic or other creams on the area.
- The local anaesthetic will wear off after about 2 hours. It is possible that you will then feel very slight discomfort. Some people find that taking painkillers may help.
- The doctor who took your biopsy will arrange with you how to obtain your results or follow up if required.
After the Procedure
You may notice the area becoming more uncomfortable or swollen 2 to 4 days after the biopsy. This may mean that you are developing an infection (it occurs in about 1 in 30 cases).
If this occurs, the first thing to do is increase the frequency of washing (to 4 times per day) for a couple of days. If you are still worried, then contact Sandyford during office hours (211 8610) and ask to speak to one of the staff.