If there is a suspicious change in your skin, your provider will evaluate it. If cancer is suspected, a sample of skin is taken from the suspicious area and examined under a microscope. This is called a skin biopsy.
There are four common types of skin biopsy, including shave biopsy, punch biopsy, incisional biopsy and excisional biopsy. The type of biopsy used depends on several factors, including the size and location of the suspicious area.
Keep in mind that a biopsy may leave a small scar. Different methods can produce different types of scars, so talk to your provider about scarring before the procedure.
Skin biopsies are done using a local anesthetic, or numbing medicine. In most cases, any discomfort during or after the biopsy should be minimal. The procedure may be performed in the provider’s office or as an outpatient in a clinic or hospital.