A skin biopsy is a procedure where a small piece of abnormal skin is removed for testing. There are three main types of skin biopsies:

  • Shave biopsy—outer part of affected area is removed
  • Punch biopsy—a small cylinder of skin is removed using a punch tool
  • Excisional biopsy—an entire area of abnormal skin is removed

Punch Biopsy
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A skin biopsy is used to test an area of abnormal skin. If possible the entire area will be removed during biopsy. A skin biopsy may be done to diagnose:

  • Bacterial, viral, or fungal infections
  • Cancer or benign skin growths
  • Inflammatory skin disorders, such as psoriasis

Skin biopsy may also be done to:

  • Make sure a tumor was completely removed—by testing remaining skin
  • Monitor the effect of a treatment