We use cookies to give you the best possible online experience. If you continue, we'll assume you are happy for your web browser to receive all cookies from our website. See our cookie policy for more information on cookies and how to manage them.

Test: Skin Biopsy

A skin biopsy is a technique used to diagnose skin diseases, such as cancer. In this procedure, a sample of skin is removed from an anaesthetized site and sent to a laboratory to be examined under a microscope. A biopsy may be used to cut away a whole lesion from the skin, such as a mole, or to remove a small sample at the edge of a large patch of affected skin.

Biopsy site

The biopsy site is first numbed with a local anaesthetic. A section of tissue, including skin that looks abnormal and a surrounding area of normal skin, is then removed for analysis.


Biopsy sample

This magnified view shows part of a removed mole. The sample confirms that the mole has no cancerous cells.

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

Back to top

Search the
Medical Encyclopedia

Related Topics

The subjects, conditions and treatments covered in this encyclopaedia are for information only and may not be covered by your insurance product should you make a claim.