WHAT IS A BIOPSY?
A biopsy means cutting a small full-thickness piece of skin from the area of symptoms. This can be examined under a microscope and in most cases an accurate diagnosis can be made.
Sometimes a biopsy does not provide an exact diagnosis, but usually there will be enough information to better guide treatment.
IS IT PAINFUL?
Local anaesthetic is injected with a needle as fine as a dentist’s. There is an initial sting that quickly settles. After this, the procedure is pain free. The numbing will last about an hour.
AFTER THE BIOPSY
Bleeding is stopped usually by dabbing on an ointment, which leaves the area looking blackened. Don’t be worried by the colour. Sometimes a small dissolving skin stitch may be used to stop the bleeding, this usually falls out by itself in 2 weeks.The biopsy leaves a pit in the skin, like an ulcer, which normally heals quickly within 1 - 2 weeks.
By 6 weeks it is usually difficult to detect the area of the biopsy.
CARE OF THE SKIN
Skin biopsies in the genital area usually heal very well with out any problems.
However If infection and pain occur these are normally controlled well enough by salt water baths or soaks. The moisture also encourages new skin growth. Simple analgesia such as panadol may also be taken if required.
Apply 1 fistful of salt to a shallow warm bath or 1/4 teaspoon of salt to a cup of water and soak for 10 - 15 minutes, 2 - 3 times a day for 5 - 7 days.
In addition you may be given:
2% xylocaine gel (local anaesthetic). Useful, especially if there is discomfort with toileting. Apply 5 minutes beforehand.
Antibiotic ointment (apply with a cotton bud). Use especially if there are long gaps between salt water bathing.
Can be started once the area is comfortable to touch.
This fact sheet is designed to provide you with information on Skin Biopsy. It is not intended to replace the need for a consultation with your doctor. All clients are strongly advised to check with their doctor about any specific questions or concerns they may have. Every effort has been taken to ensure that the information in this pamphlet is correct at the time of printing.Last Updated August 2012