Skin Biopsy

  • It is an essential investigation in the diagnosis of many skin disorders and necessary in skin tumors wherein a specimen is obtained for histological examination by a dermatopathologist.
  • Indications:
    • Diagnostic confirmation of a clinical diagnosis i.e. skin malignancies, atypical lesions, vesiculobullous lesions
    • Prognostication of a disease i.e. lupus erythematosus or prognosis of a tumor (Breslow’s depth for melanoma)
    • Obtain information about the response to treatment i.e. Hansen’s disease and mycosis fungoides
    • Diagnosis and treatment for small atypical moles, acquired melanocytic nevi and small basal cell carcinoma.
    • For further investigation i.e. direct immunofluorescence, microbiological tests, immunoenzyme tests etc.


  • Factors that are important to consider to obtain a correct and adequate diagnosis are:
    • adequate tissue specimen
    • correct selection of biopsy site
    • minimal tissue trauma –
      • primary objective  is  to  ensure  the  specimen reach the laboratory in a state suitable for the relevant diagnostic technique
        • specimen should be handled gently
        • don’t use forceps and use sharp scissors to cut through the subcutaneous fat at the base
        • improper handling can cause “crush artifact”


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