What is a biopsy?

A “biopsy” is the removal of a small sample of a growth or skin. The sample is sent to a pathologist who looks at it through a microscope to determine the type of growth or disease present. Dr. West then reviews the pathologist’s findings and correlates them with the clinical appearance, history, and symptoms of your condition to reach a diagnosis. Knowing the correct diagnosis helps Dr. West determine the best possible treatment for you.

Why are there two fees for my biopsy?

There are two separate charges when a biopsy or shave removal is performed: 1) The dermatologist fee for removal of the tissue to be examined 2) The pathologist fee for the preparation and evaluation of the tissue

How should I care for the biopsy/shave/scissor removal wound?

Keep the wound covered at all times. Do not remove the dressing to let air get to the wound. To do so would dry the wound and cause a scab to form which would delay wound healing and increase the risk of infection and scarring. Wash your hands with soap and water before performing wound care.

Clean the wound once or twice a day with mild soap and water. Dry the wound with clean gauze or a clean towel. Apply Vaseline ointment or Aquaphor. Apply a sterile dressing like a Band-Aid®. For draining wounds that would saturate a Band-Aid® too quickly, apply a sterile non-stick dressing like Telfa® followed by sterile gauze for absorption and paper tape or another dressing tape.

Continue wound care until you notice that the dressing is no longer discolored by wound drainage after being in place for 24 hours and there are no scabs or moist, draining areas where the skin is not fully healed. Studies show that wounds heal better, faster and with less risk of infection when covered with ointment and a dressing.

If you develop signs of infection please call our office immediately. Signs of infection include increasing pain, swelling or redness at the biopsy site, and fever.

How do I find out the results of my biopsy?

Within a week of your biopsy procedure, you should receive a call from our office with the results of the pathologist’s analysis. If you have not heard from us within that time, you may call our office. A member of our nursing staff will call you back later that day or the following with the results.

If your biopsy shows that you have skin cancer you will be invited to schedule an appointment to discuss your condition and treatment options. There are several different ways to treat skin cancer depending on its type and location, and on your underlying health problems and medications. After discussing these issues with Dr. West and his staff, you will be scheduled for the procedure that would be best for your particular skin cancer. Please contact our office at (860)572-9994 if you have any questions.