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.

Results

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.

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