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Skin Biopsy

Philip C. Anderson, MD
JAMA. 1967;201(10):762-764. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03130100060015.
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With the exception of blood, no human living tissue can be secured more easily or safely for cytologic study than can skin.1-5 Our problem becomes then not how to biopsy the skin, but where, when, and why to biopsy, and, most important, what useful information we can expect from the pathologist's report.

How.—  The decision to biopsy made, a surgical tray is assembled containing a scalpel with a No. 15 blade, fine surgical pickups, appropriate 4-0 or 5-0 silk or nylon suture with the needle attached, a small needle holder, and six to a dozen 4 × 4-inch surgical sponges. Available in separate sterile packages are curved mosquito hemostats, which are used mainly for dissection because hemostasis of the biopsy wound generally can be secured by steady gentle pressure for three minutes by the clock. Skin punches of various sizes, small skin hooks, and an iris scissors are useful


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