What is a punch biopsy?

A punch biopsy is the removal of a piece of skin where the entire skin's thickness is removed.

What should I expect after a punch biopsy?

There may be some minimal discomfort which should be controllable with Tylenol.

Most areas will be completely healed in one to two weeks. Biopsies on the back, chest and trunk will take longer to heal than on the face and neck. A loss of pigmentation may occur but is often followed by repigmentation, but may take several months.

Since a piece if skin is removed, a scar will result from this biopsy. The appearance of the scar may be unnoticeable. However, lightening or darkening of the skin at the biopsy site and a contour irregularity are possible.

Remember that full maturation of the wound usually takes three to six months, and that the initial pink color of the wound will ultimately turn white.

Remember to return to the clinic when scheduled if a suture has been placed, so the suture can be removed.

How do I care for the biopsy site?

Allow any pressure dressing applied by your physician to remain in place for 24 hours.

If there is any bleeding, apply firm, CONTINUOUS pressure to the area for 20 minutes. If this does not stop the bleeding, call the office or report to an emergency room.

Clean the wound gently every day, and pat dry.

Apply Polysporin ointment to the wound and then cover it with a Band-Aid, once a day until the area heals. Keeping the wound moist can prevent the formation of a scab and reduce the risk of scarring. You may have to rotate the Band-Aids to avoid irritation.

Is there anything I should look for?

Observe the wound every day for extreme tenderness or redness, which would suggest infection, and notify us if either of these should develop.

You should also notify us immediately if you notice any strong odor, pus coming from the wound, red streaks, elevated temperature, pain not relieved by Tylenol, or if you develop a fever or chills.

If you are worried by the appearance of the biopsy site, or if you have any questions or concerns, please call the office.

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