A skin biopsy may be needed to diagnose or remove skin tissue. A biopsy can diagnose various types of skin diseases or conditions, such as actinic keratosis, inflammatory conditions, skin cancer, moles, warts, skin tags or other conditions. The specific condition will determine the type of biopsy to be performed:
- Punch biopsy: This type of biopsy involves taking a round section of tissue with a specialized tool. This type of biopsy may be indicated if it is suspected that the skin condition is affecting the deeper skin tissues.
- Excisional biopsy: If it is suspected that the skin problem extends to the fat beneath the skin, an excisional biopsy may be performed. The area is closed with sutures after the tissue is removed.
- Shave biopsy: Superficial skin conditions may be biopsied with a shave biopsy. This type of biopsy does not remove the full skin structure.
- Saucerization: This biopsy is similar to a shave biopsy, which may be used to remove a mole or other skin flaw by scooping it out, followed by closing the skin with sutures if necessary.