Excision biopsy
Excision biopsy

Excision biopsy

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Excision biopsy, which is also known as wide local excision, is a surgical procedure where an incision is made through the skin for removing an entire lump or a suspicious growth, that can be checked under a microscope to look for any signs of malignant disease. Along with the skin lesion, a small amount of the healthy tissue is also removed through a surgical procedure. A cut is made through the skin to remove the lump or suspicious area so it can be checked under a microscope for signs of disease. 

The sample that is taken during this biopsy is often very small, sometimes the size of a pea. This size is more than enough for the laboratory technicians to test the various problems that could be the reason behind your skin lesion, be it a normal skin infection or a malignant growth. However, the sample may also be larger in case the entire lesion is eliminated.

In case your doctor suspects any malignant growth, that is caused by one of the most aggressive forms of skin cancer called melanoma - the procedure of excision biopsy will be carried out. The excision biopsy will typically take around 20 minutes to an hour. Anesthesia will be used for numbing the affected area before making an incision using a scalpel. With this technique, the potentially cancerous tissue will be eliminated along with a small amount of healthy skin. This is done so that any future spread can be prevented. Then, this area that has been cut out will be sent for testing. Also if your doctor suspects that cancer has possibly or may possibly spread into your lymph nodes, then an excision biopsy of the lymph node will be done as well. 

In case of deeper excision, several sutures will be used to close the wound. Once the biopsy is done the treated area will be covered using a bandage to stop the bleeding. In case a large area is biopsy and then your doctor may use the technique of skin graft or flap for replacing the skin that has been eliminated. 


An excision biopsy is carried out to diagnose or help in treating certain skin conditions and disorders, including; 

  • Melanoma
  • Inflammation on the skin
  • Skin tags
  • Skin infection
  • Warts
  • Skin cancer that includes basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma
  • Actinic keratosis
  • Suspicious moles or skin growths 
  • Swollen lymph nodes


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