A punch biopsy is a diagnostic procedure that involves removing a tiny tube-shaped piece of skin and part of the tissue beneath it with a sharp cutting instrument. It may be performed on any part of the body. After that, the tissue is inspected under a microscope.
Why a punch biopsy is done
A punch biopsy allows surgeons to remove a patch of skin that comprises all layers (epidermis, dermis and subcutaneous tissue). This is critical when a complete thickness of skin is required for a good diagnosis and treatment strategy.
It is used to treat many kinds of cancer, including non-melanoma skin cancer and melanoma skin cancer.
It can also be used to detect precancerous and non-cancerous skin tumours or disorders.
For big tumours on the skin or a thin, wet layer of tissue that borders several organs and cavities, a punch biopsy is commonly utilised (mucosa).
What are the benefits of a punch biopsy?
Your doctor could be concerned about a skin lesion, which is a lump or area on or just beneath your skin, or they might want to know what’s causing a rash or eruption on your skin.
If a problem is discovered, the healthcare staff will talk to you about the best course of action. The healthcare staff will comfort you if the biopsy results are normal.
Are there any alternatives to a punch biopsy?
A blood test or scan may provide more information and reveal the existence of a condition. A biopsy, on the other hand, will assist your doctor determine what is causing the condition and propose the best treatment for you.
What does the procedure involve?
The treatment takes 10 to 15 minutes and is conducted under local anaesthesia. Your doctor will stretch your skin to make it simpler to retrieve a tissue sample with the punch. The tissue excised is typically less than 4 millimetres in diameter and 1.5 millimetres in depth. They will either use stitches or a dressing to seal the hole.
What complications can happen?
- unsightly scarring of your skin
- infection of the surgical site (wound)
- wound breakdown
- allergic reaction due to medicine or equipment
How soon will I recover?
You will be able to return home after a short time. Unless otherwise instructed, you should be able to return to work the next day.
For 2 to 3 days, avoid taking a hot bath. Do not exercise vigorously for the first week or until the biopsy site has healed.
Because the biopsy findings will not be available for at least a few days, the healthcare team may schedule an appointment for you to return to the clinic to get them. Any therapy or follow-up you require will be discussed with you by the healthcare team.
Exercise on a regular basis should help your long-term health. Before you begin exercising, seek counsel from your healthcare provider or your primary care physician.
A punch biopsy is typically a safe and effective approach to determine if you have a skin condition.