If your doctor has ordered a punch biopsy for your health, you may be wondering what you should expect during the procedure appointment. A punch biopsy is a medical procedure that involves removing a small sample of skin for testing. This sample can also be used to diagnose a variety of conditions, including skin cancer. It is a relatively simple procedure, but it’s okay to be nervous about it! Keep reading to learn more about the procedure and what to expect.
What to Expect During a Punch Biopsy Appointment
Preparing the Area
Before you undergo the punch biopsy, your provider will examine the area closely and ensure that it’s the best place to be taking the biopsy sample from. This helps to prevent unnecessary tissue removal and also to ensure that the results are as accurate as possible. Once the best site for biopsy is found, your provider will use local anesthetic to numb the area before the skin is punctured to remove tissue, ensuring less pain or discomfort during the procedure.
Once the area is prepared and numb, your provider will then use a small, tube-shaped tool called a biopsy punch to take a circle-shaped sample of tissue from the area. The sample typically ranges from 3 to 6 mm in diameter, and will include the top few layers of skin and tissue, reaching down to the superficial fat layer.
Biopsy Site Care
Once the sample has been taken, your provider will apply a bandage or stitches to reduce bleeding and promote faster healing. Most biopsies don’t require stitches, but some testing may require multiple samples or larger samples, in which cases stitches are the most effective way to heal the wound. After the procedure, you may feel some tenderness or discomfort and you may need mild pain medication. Speak with your provider about recommended pain management, but otherwise keep the site clean and cared for to ensure faster healing.
Waiting For Results
Now you’re done! The next step is to wait for your results, and your provider will let you know how long you should expect the testing process to take.