A skin biopsy is the removal of a small piece of the suspicious appearing area so that it can be examined under the microscope to determine the type of disease and its features. Your doctor will determine if the lesion looks suspicious enough to warrant a biopsy and what type of biopsy is ideal for you.
- Shave biopsy – a biopsy that shaves off the top layer of the skin with a small blade
- Punch biopsy – a small and round tool resembling a cookie cutter is used to remove a cylinder of skin in order to remove a deeper sample that includes all the layers of the skin.
- Excisional biopsy –the entire lesion that is visible to the human eye is removed in one piece with a surgical blade and sent to the lab for analysis.
- Incisional biopsy – a portion of the lesion is removed with a surgical blade and sent to the lab for analysis.
Lymph Node Biopsies
Fine needle aspiration (FNA): A fine needle aspiration is the use of a small hollow needle to extract cells from the lymph nodes. These cells can then be examined under the microscope. The procedure generally causes minimal pain and does not leave a scar but may not provide enough sample to accurately make a clear diagnosis.
Core needle biopsy: A core needle biopsy is the use of a large hollow needle to remove a very thin cylindrical core of sample from the lymph node.The procedure is quick but may cause slightly more temporary discomfort than a fine needle aspiration. This type of biopsy collects a bigger sample and is more accurate than using the smaller needle. This type of biopsy is often carried out using image guidance with an ultrasound or CT scan for more accurate placement of the needle
Sentinel lymph node biopsy <<Link From table of contents on pt ed page>>
Sentinel lymph node biopsy may be an important part of your treatment for melanoma, merkel cell carcinoma and certain high-risk squamous cell skin cancers. The role of sentinel lymph node biopsy is still evolving for squamous cell skin cancers. This procedure is used to find the first lymph nodes that drain your skin cancer and test those lymph nodes to see if the cancer has spread into the lymph nodes. The procedure begins with injection of a radioactive tracer into the cancer. [A] An imaging exam called lymphoscintogram is then performed to show the location of the sentinel lymph node[s] [B]. The lymph node[s] are then removed by the surgeon and analyzed in the laboratory and tested for cancer [C]. If the lymph nodes are cancer free, the cancer is unlikely to have spread and more invasive lymph node removal procedures are likely not needed. If the lymph nodes do contain cancer, more lymph node surgery, as well as other treatments, may be recommended by your multidisciplinary oncology team (surgeon, oncologist, radiation oncologist).