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A biopsy is a procedure whereby a small piece of your skin is surgically excised (cut out) and sent to a specialist laboratory that Dr Adib trusts, in order to provide as accurately as possible, a diagnosis for your problem.
Biopsies are usually performed for both, rashes and skin cancers, to confirm a diagnosis. You will be given a local anaesthetic injection to numb the skin area before the biopsy is performed. Depending on location, a biopsy takes approximately 5-20 minutes.
The piece of skin taken varies from 3-8mm. Usually it will require a stitch and a dressing/bandaid that you will go home with.
The purpose of a biopsy is to obtain just a sample of the rash or skin cancer for the purpose of diagnosis, so that a plan of definitive treatment can be devised. A biopsy is not a means of treatment, therefore it cannot be relied upon as being curative, especially regarding skin cancers.
A skin scraping is usually performed if a fungal infection is suspected. Your skin surface is scraped and abraded in order to obtain the surface layer (stratum corneum). The scrapings are then sent to a laboratory where it is examined under a microscope and grown on a culture plate to ascertain any species of fungus, if it was to grow. This is not an invasive procedure, not requiring any stitches.
Dr Carol Adib may recommend that one or several moles be removed if they are abnormal in appearance, or if they are highly suspicious for a skin cancer. This procedure is usually booked as a separate appointment in order to allow for adequate time and care. You will be administered a local anaesthetic to numb the skin area before the mole or lesion in question is surgically excised (cut out with a scalpel). She will sew up the wound with sutures, and will advise you on how to care for the wound over the following days. It is best to have someone drive you to and from your appointment or catch public transport, especially if you are having many lesions excised; the local anaesthetic may sometimes cause dizziness. If you still intend to drive yourself, allow for at least a good hour or more after the procedure, in case you feel light-headed. There are several modest cafes within the hospital in which you may spend time, following your procedure.
Excisions are performed for a variety of lesions: