Skin Biopsy: MedlinePlus Lab Test Information

 

What is a skin biopsy?

A skin biopsy is a procedure that removes a small sample of skin for testing. The skin sample is looked at under a microscope to check for skin cancer, skin infections, or skin disorders such as psoriasis.

There are three main ways to do a skin biopsy:

  • A punch biopsy, which uses a special circular tool to remove the sample.
  • A shave biopsy, which removes the sample with a razor blade
  • An excisional biopsy, which removes the sample with small knife called a scalpel.

The type of biopsy you get depends on the location and size of the abnormal area of skin, known as a skin lesion. Most skin biopsies can be done in a health care provider’s office or other outpatient facility.

Other names: punch biopsy, shave biopsy, excisional biopsy, skin cancer biopsy, basal cell biopsy, squamous cell biopsy, melanoma biopsy

What is it used for?

A skin biopsy is used to help diagnose a variety of skin conditions including:

  • Skin disorders such as psoriasis and eczema
  • Bacterial or fungal infections of the skin
  • Skin cancer. A biopsy can confirm or rule out whether a suspicious mole or other growth is cancerous.

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. The most common types of skin cancer are basal cell and squamous cell cancers. These cancers rarely spread to other parts of the body and are usually curable with treatment. A third type of skin cancer is called melanoma. Melanoma is less common than the other two, but more dangerous because it’s more likely to spread. Most skin cancer deaths are caused by melanoma.

A skin biopsy can help diagnose skin cancer in the early stages, when it’s easier to treat.

Why do I need a skin biopsy?

You may need a skin biopsy if you have certain skin symptoms such as:

  • A persistent rash
  • Scaly or rough skin
  • Open sores
  • A mole or other growth that is irregular in shape, color, and/or size

What happens during a skin biopsy?

A health care provider will clean the site and inject an anesthetic so you won’t feel any pain during the procedure. The rest of the procedure steps depend on which type of skin biopsy you are getting. There are three main types:

Punch biopsy

  • A health care provider will place a special circular tool over the abnormal skin area (lesion) and rotate it to remove a small piece of skin (about the size of a pencil eraser).
  • The sample will be lifted out with a special tool
  • If a larger skin sample was taken, you may need one or two stitches to cover the biopsy site.
  • Pressure will be applied to the site until the bleeding stops.
  • The site will be covered with a bandage or sterile dressing.

A punch biopsy is often used to diagnose rashes.

Shave biopsy

  • A health care provider will use a razor or a scalpel to remove a sample from the top layer of your skin.
  • Pressure will be applied to the biopsy site to stop the bleeding. You may also get a medicine that goes on top of the skin (also called a topical medicine) to help stop the bleeding.

A shave biopsy is often used if your provider thinks you may have skin cancer, or if you have a rash that’s limited to the top layer of your skin.

Excisional biopsy

  • A surgeon will use a scalpel to remove the entire skin lesion (the abnormal area of skin).
  • The surgeon will close the biopsy site with stitches.
  • Pressure will be applied to the site until the bleeding stops.
  • The site will be covered with a bandage or sterile dressing.

An excisional biopsy is often used if your provider thinks you may have melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer.

After the biopsy, keep the area covered with a bandage until you’ve healed, or until your stitches come out. If you had stitches, they will be taken out 3–14 days after your procedure.

Will I need to do anything to prepare for the test?

You don’t need any special preparations for a skin biopsy.

Are there any risks to the test?

You may have a little bruising, bleeding, or soreness at the biopsy site. If these symptoms last longer than a few days or they get worse, talk to your health care provider.

What do the results mean?

If your results were normal, it means no cancer or skin disease was found. If your results were not normal, you may be diagnosed with one of the following conditions:

  • A bacterial or fungal infection
  • A skin disorder such as psoriasis
  • Skin cancer. Your results may indicate one of three types of skin cancers: basal cell, squamous cell, or melanoma.

Is there anything else I need to know about a skin biopsy?

If you are diagnosed with basal cell or squamous cell cancer, the entire cancerous lesion may be removed at the time of the skin biopsy or soon after. Often, no other treatment is needed. If you are diagnosed with melanoma, you will need more tests to see if the cancer has spread. Then you and your health care provider can develop a treatment plan that’s right for you.

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The Basics: Canker Sore Causes and Treatments

Burning or tingling spot in your mouth? A canker sore may be on the way. What can you do about these small ulcers inside your mouth? Learn about what causes canker sores and your treatment options.

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Managing Celiac Disease-Mayo Clinic

Wheat is the grain on which Western civilization was built. It’s been used for thousands of years as the foundation of our diet. But 1 out of 100 Americans has a condition called celiac disease, which is an intolerance to wheat, barley and rye. Its symptoms can be subtle, but if you don’t stick to a gluten-free diet you could be damaging your body and not even know it. More from Mayo Clinic.

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Zika Virus Test: MedlinePlus Lab Test Information

What is a Zika virus test?

Zika is a viral infection usually spread by mosquitos. It can also spread through sex with an infected person or from a pregnant woman to her baby. A Zika virus test looks for signs of the infection in blood or urine.

Mosquitos that carry the Zika virus are most common in areas of the world with tropical climates. These include islands in the Caribbean and the Pacific, and parts of Africa, Central America, South America, and Mexico. Mosquitos carrying the Zika virus have also been found in parts of the United States, including South Florida.

Most people infected with Zika have no symptoms or mild symptoms that last a few days to a week. But a Zika infection can cause serious complications if you are pregnant. A Zika infection during pregnancy can cause a birth defect called microcephaly. Microcephaly can severely affect the development of a baby’s brain. Zika infections during pregnancy have also been linked to an increased risk of other birth defects, miscarriage, and stillbirth.

In rare cases, children and adults infected with Zika may get a disease called Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS). GBS is a disorder that causes the body’s immune system to attack part of the nervous system. GBS is serious, but treatable. If you get GBS, you will probably recover within a few weeks.

Other names: Zika Antibody Test, Zika RT-PCR Test , Zika test

What is it used for?

A Zika virus test is used to find out if you have a Zika infection. It is mostly used on pregnant women who have recently traveled to an area where there is a risk of Zika infection.

Why do I need a Zika virus test?

You may need a Zika virus test if you are pregnant and have recently traveled to an area where there is a risk of Zika infection. You may also need a Zika test if you are pregnant and have had sex with a partner who traveled to one of these areas.

A Zika test might be ordered if you have symptoms of Zika. Most people with Zika don’t have symptoms, but when there are symptoms, they often include:

What happens during a Zika virus test?

A Zika virus test is usually a blood test or a urine test.

If you are getting a Zika blood test, a health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out. This usually takes less than five minutes.

If you are getting a Zika test in urine, ask your health care provider for instructions on how to provide your sample.

If you are pregnant and your prenatal ultrasound shows the possibility of microcephaly, your health care provider may recommend a procedure called amniocentesis to check for Zika. Amniocentesis is a test that looks at the fluid that surrounds an unborn baby (amniotic fluid). For this test, your provider will insert a special hollow needle into your belly and withdraw a small sample of fluid for testing.

Will I need to do anything to prepare for the test?

You don’t any special preparations for a Zika virus test.

Are there any risks to the test?

There is very little risk to having a blood test. You may have slight pain or bruising at the spot where the needle was put in, but most symptoms go away quickly.

There are no known risks to a urine test.

Amniocentesis may cause some cramping or pain in your belly. There is a small chance the procedure will cause a miscarriage. Talk to your health care provider about the benefits and risks of this test.

What do the results mean?

A positive Zika test result probably means you have a Zika infection. A negative result can mean you aren’t infected or you were tested too soon for the virus to show up in testing. If you think you were exposed to the virus, talk to your health care provider about when or if you need to be retested.

If you are diagnosed with Zika and are pregnant, you can start to prepare for your baby’s possible health problems before he or she is born. While not all babies exposed to Zika have birth defects or any health problems, many children born with Zika have long-lasting special needs. Talk to your health care provider about how to get support and health care services should you need them. Early intervention may make a difference in your child’s health and quality of life.

If you are diagnosed with Zika and are not pregnant, but would like become pregnant in the future, talk to your health care provider. Currently, there is no evidence of Zika-related pregnancy complications in women who have fully recovered from Zika. Your provider can tell you how long you should wait before trying to have a baby and if you need to retested.

Is there anything else I need to know about a Zika virus test?

If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, you should take steps to reduce your risk of getting a Zika infection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that pregnant women avoid traveling in areas that may put you at risk for Zika infection. If you can’t avoid travel or if you live in one of these areas, you should:

  • Apply an insect repellent containing DEET on your skin and clothing. DEET is safe and effective for pregnant women.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants
  • Use screens on windows and doors
  • Sleep under a mosquito net

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Backwards: Jude’s Story | WebMD

Backwards is the story of Jude Hiley, an 11-year-old boy, who was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma. He chose to have Rotationplasty, a surgery that turns his leg backward so his heel can act as a knee joint. and opening up the opportunity for him to play sports for the rest of his life.

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What Happens During Gallbladder Surgery?

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While the bacterial infection can be mild in adults, if a baby who hasn’t received a full course of vaccinations is infected, whooping cough can be extremely serious.Mayo Clinic News Network reporter Vivien Williams has more on how to recognize and treat this disease.

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