A biopsy is the removal of a small amount of tissue or fluid from specific areas of concern on the body. These samples are used for diagnostic purposes, such as determining the presence of breast or skin cancer. The samples are then sent to a laboratory for examination by a pathologist. There are several biopsy methods that are used at the Procedure Clinic. These methods are excisional, fine needle, incisional, punch, and shaving.

An excisional biopsy is a procedure that removes all or a majority of any abnormal area, such as a mass or lump. The procedure is performed using local anesthesia and following the removal, the area is sutured closed. Side-effects may include bleeding, infection or bruising.

Fine Needle Biopsy
Fine needle biopsies are a common way to remove fluid or tissue from areas of concern. The sample is collected by way of an extremely thin needle that is attached to a syringe. The needle is inserted into the lump and fluid is pulled into the syringe. This type of biopsy may not accurately assess the presence of cancer and further testing is often necessary. Side-effects may include bruising around the insertion area.

Incisional Biopsy
An incisional biopsy is one in which the surgeon cuts into a mass or lesion and removes only a small portion for analysis. The procedure is performed with local anesthesia and the site must be closed with sutures. In terms of complications, there is a some bleeding, pain, infection or bruising, however these risks are minimal.

Punch Biopsy
When there are abnormal lesions or growths on the skin, a punch biopsy is often used to determine the presence of cancer. An instrument is used to remove a cylinder-shaped core of skin and tissue directly from the area of concern. Sutures are used to close up the resulting wound. Potential complications include bleeding, bruising or infection.

Shaving Biopsy
Shaving biopsies are also a type of skin biopsy. This biopsy method removes the growth from the body, either entirely or in part, but does not remove any tissue from beneath the skin. To perform the procedure, local anesthesia is used and the skin is scraped with a blade or a razor. Potential side-effects are redness and scabbing.

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