What is the process of a skin biopsy?


  • These procedures are performed under local anaesthetic, which numbs the area to be operated on. This means that you will be awake during the procedure.  
  • You can eat and drink as normal 
  • Local anaesthetic injections cause a stinging discomfort which will last for a few seconds. 
  • The local anaesthetic removes pain sensation but you might be aware of touch and pulling sensations.  
  • The numbness from the anaesthetic will normally last for a couple of hours.  The time you will be in the department depends on the type of procedure being undertaken however most procedures take between 15 and 45 minutes. 
  • After the local anaesthetic has been injected a sample of skin will be taken of your rash or lesion, stitches will be put into the wound. 
  • You may also have buried stitches under the skin which will dissolve over several weeks and also skin stitches which will need to be removed usually at your GPs in 5-10 days depending on the site of surgery. 

Will there be a scar? 

  • All skin surgery will leave some from of scar.  
  • The type of scar often depends on the procedure, your racial background and the body site.  
  • Sometimes in certain areas, especially on the upper back, shoulders and chest, scars may become raised, thickened and sore or itchy.  These are known as hypertrophic or keloid scars.  
  • In addition scars can often stretch over time so that the scar is often wider than it was at the end of the procedure.  This is most common in areas under tension and little can be done to prevent scars from stretching. 

Will there be any pain? 

  • This often depends on the operation site but after most procedures there is little pain.  
  • Large wounds or those in areas subject to pressure (i.e. the foot) or where there is a lot of movement (i.e. the shoulder) can be more uncomfortable.  Most pain is controlled by simple analgesia (pain relief) such as Paracetamol. 

Will I be able to drive? 

  • You may have a pressure dressing in place for 24 hours after your surgery.  
  • If your procedure is on the face this may interfere with your vision or if your operations is on the leg might interfere with your ability to drive.  
  • Operations around the eye and upper cheek can cause swelling or bruising of the eye which can also affect your vision.  In these circumstances you are strongly advised not to drive. 

What are the after effects of surgery? 

  • All skin surgery inevitably cuts small nerve fibres, this can result in numbness or pins and needles around the operation site.  This change in sensation can last for a few weeks or occasionally months. 
  • Wound infections are an uncommon but recognised risk of skin surgery.  Wound infections should be treated as soon as possible with antibiotics.  Heat, pain, redness and swelling around the site 4-5 days after surgery could be a sign of wound infection.  Please contact your GP if you are concerned that you could have a wound infection. 
  • Occasionally reactions to buried (absorbable/dissolving) stitches can occur. Buried stitches are used to provide support to the deeper parts of a wound. These reactions are rare but can occur several weeks after surgery as the stitches are absorbed. 
  • There may be some bleeding after surgery however, this is usually minor. 


Please bring a copy of your most recent prescription when attending your operation. 

Your medication should have been discussed with you at consultation.  If you are taking Aspirin, Clopidogrel, Dipyridamole, Warfarin, Rivaroxaban, Dabigatran or Apixaban these can increase your risk of bleeding after surgery however, unless instructed otherwise by your doctor you should continue to take your  medication.  You should also make your doctor aware if you take Propranolol, this is a drug known as a beta-blocker which can be used for high blood pressure, anxiety or tremors. 


Professor Madan will contact you by letter regarding the results in approximately 6 weeks and you may be asked to come back to clinic for a review. ​ 

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