What is a skin biopsy | Medical tests

Allows you to diagnose diseases of the skin whose existence the dermatologist has not been able to determine by other means.

Skin biopsy

The skin is an organ that extends across the surface of our body from external aggressions and synthesizing vitamins necessary for our organism. Its thickness varies depending on the region of the body, ranges from 0.5 cm to more than one 1 cm. Skin biopsy involves taking a piece of skin for later analysis under the microscope or in a laboratory. It is a test that is often carried out for the study of skin diseases such as autoimmune diseases, melanoma and other tumors.
Thanks to her has been diagnose diseases that could not be decrypted only with the exploration of the dermatologist. The main advantage that has the skin on other biopsies biopsy is that it is a body with very easy access, so you can take samples in a way very little invasive.
This ease of access has made that cutaneous biopsy will become a daily test in dermatology. In addition, risks associated are rare and usually not very serious. You can be performed in less than 20 minutes and the hospitalization is not necessary. Although it is a simple test allows knowing the patient's skin disease deeply, and so provide you with the most appropriate treatment.
There are three types of skin biopsies:
Punch or punchbiopsy: is performed with a hollow cylinder of sharp edges that a circular sample of skin from few millimeters in diameter.
Surgical biopsy: it is done with a scalpel, its size may vary according to the need for the study. Lets get subcutaneous fatty tissue.
Excisional biopsy: realized with scalpel and to be biopsied is caught all the skin lesion, eliminating it.

When doing a skin biopsy

Skin biopsy is a medical test that is performed for the following reasons:
A definitive diagnosis: Although many of the skin lesions may be diagnosed at a glance by a dermatologist, sometimes it is necessary to study under a microscope injured skin provide additional information that will help specialist to decide on a specific diagnosis.
Isolation of microorganisms: the skin sample can be processed in a microbiology laboratory to check for bacteria, fungus, virus, or parasite responsible for cutaneous lesions.
Molecular study: Although the specific diagnosis of a skin lesion is known, it is sometimes necessary to perform a skin biopsy to study biochemical components that help us to determine their severity and their most appropriate treatment.
Genetic study: on many occasions, to diagnose a genetic disease it is necessary to obtain cellular tissue from any part of our body to study their chromosomes. The skin is a tissue that is frequently used for this purpose because of its easy availability.
Stem cell therapy: Although today it is in phase of study, expected that in the future the skin removed with a biopsy can serve to extract stem cells.

Preparation for skin biopsy

If you are going to perform a skin biopsy these are issues that you must consider when go ready to test:
Duration: the test will last a total of 15 to 20 minutes. The biopsy itself will last from three to five minutes, the rest consists of the preparation of the material and the biopsy area.
Income: cutaneous biopsy can be performed on a query, a priests room or an operating room either. Hospital admission is not required in any case.
Is necessary to be accompanied?: no need to be accompanied to a cutaneous biopsy, but it is recommended. There are particularly sensitive people who can get dizzy with the test, but in the vast majority of the time will not notice anything.
Drugs: don't need to take any prior medication. Although you should tell your doctor all the medicines taken regularly, especially antiplatelet agents, such as the add, or blood thinners, as the Sintrom. It is important to also inform of allergies to medications or anaesthetics, if you have them.
Food: don't need to stay in fasting prior to testing or after. If for any reason it should go on fasting to test the doctor would let you know in advance.
Clothing: can make the skin biopsy with the same clothes every day. When you get to the hospital or doctor's office ask you you to discover the part of the body that goes to biopsiarse.
Documents: is essential to bring with you the steering wheel which shows the performance of this test. The health insurance card is recommended. Normally you will not you any document after the test because it takes time to analyze the results.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: cutaneous biopsy is not contraindicated in pregnancy or lactation, but that State should know because some alterations of the skin can be explained by these States unless they are necessarily pathological.
Contraindications: skin biopsy does not have any specific contraindication. Test utility should only be assessed and if it can help the patient to understand their disease.

How the skin biopsy

First, the dermatologist will evaluate in prior consultation if necessary or not to perform a skin biopsy. If deemed useful will inform you of how it's performed, what information we can provide and what are the possible risks involved. It will give you a document informed consent summarizing the main characteristics and you will have to sign it if you agree with its realization. Often it is only necessary to give an oral consent.
Skin biopsy may make you it the same day or in another different appointment. When go to make ask you, first of all, you discover the part of the body that go to biopsy. The dermatologist will mark with a pen or marker the skin lesion biopsy owed and will begin to prepare the area.
First and foremost is washing your hands and with some gloves will clean the area with an antiseptic that would eliminate the germs that could be on the surface of the skin. Then prepare the material needed to perform the biopsy and gloves will be changed by a few sterile. With them you can handle all the sterile material without polluting it.
First it numb eye area with a small subcutaneous injection. This prick can hurt a little and to introduce the anesthetic can moderately escocer. This will be the only step that you may be uncomfortable, then the area is numbed and you will not notice anything else. If at some point in the process you sintieses back pain will only have to tell the doctor and he will make you more anesthesia.
When the skin to biopsy area is numbed shall be to cut the skin to study sample. Punch biopsies will be used the punch, a few cylinders with sharp edge that you just have to press against the skin. If it is a surgical or Excisional biopsy will be directly used a scalpel. Once cut the piece of skin removed with pliers and cut its base to remove it. The piece of skin gets into a boat that keeps it until its study in the laboratory.
Once the biopsy, wound that remains should be sutured. Skin fragment extracted does not usually exceed the centimetre, so do not worry by the wound and subsequent scar. In the majority of cases is sufficient to close the wound with one or two stitches and then the scar is almost invisible. He thinks that many times you have become larger wounds that did not leave marks on your skin.
When you have finished you will put a dressing which you can withdraw within 24 hours. You will have stitches you to remove a doctor or nurse at your usual Health Center, let them 7 to 14 days, depending on the area of the region of the biopsied skin. Then you can get dressed and pick up your things, it is not necessary for you to wait to any kind of documentation, since the results take time and you will be given another appointment.

Complications of skin biopsy

All biopsies have risks to be invasive tests, albeit slightly. They tend to be infrequent complications and in the majority of cases have easy solutions. They can appear during or after the test. Some of the most common cutaneous biopsy are:
  • Bleeding from the point of biopsy.
  • Local infection with fever.
  • Reaction to anesthesia during the test.
  • The biopsy wound opening spontaneously.
  • Keloid scar when it cure.

Skin biopsy results

The results of the skin biopsy may take to be between one week and one month. The waiting time, it therefore tends to be long and requires patience and tranquility. The reason is that the sample biopsied need to be processed in order to study it properly. The following tests will be held on this sample:
Histological staining: using special dyes cells are colored and can be observed under the microscope directly.
Immunofluorescence studies: you can attach fluorescent substances to certain components of the cells and thus verify its existence.
Microbiological cultures: If infection is suspected sample can be grown in appropriate media that allow the growth of microorganisms.
Molecular studies: specific proteins that classified the types of cells that contain the sample can be identified.
All of these tests will be performed by the physician. Along with the symptoms, analytical studies and biopsy specialist can perform an accurate diagnosis most of the times. So you can explain what happens to you, and what are the treatments available to solve your skin disease.
Published for educational purposes
Health and Wellness

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