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Punch biopsy

Skin punch placed over growth on skin, with detail of punch pushed down into layers of skin and rotated to remove growth.

A punch biopsy is done to remove a skin growth (lesion). A sharp tool called a skin punch is used. The tool works like a tiny cookie cutter. The doctor gives a local anesthetic to numb the area. Then the tool is placed over the growth, pushed down, and slowly rotated to remove a circular core of skin. The biopsy area is then covered with a bandage.

After the growth is removed, a doctor trained to look at tissue samples (pathologist) will check it for cell changes, such as cancer. The pathologist also may do tests to detect an infection caused by a virus, a fungus, or bacteria.

Current as of: November 16, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
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All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.

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