It is crucial to learn what to do to your skin after a biopsy because it can be an invasive procedure. Fortunately, there are easy ways to care for your skin after the procedure.
Care of Skin After Biopsy
Do the following immediately after a skin biopsy:
You may have to leave the bandage on the skin area for 24 hours after the biopsy. If your doctor gives the instruction, leave the site untouched and do not wet it for the duration. In some cases, the area may bleed. Apply pressure directly to it for about twenty minutes. After that, check to see if it is still bleeding. Apply more pressure if it is, but report to your doctor if the bleeding continues.
Keep from strenuous activities so that you do not break the skin until it heals. You risk bleeding and infection if you do. Avoid soaking or swimming in any body of water, such as a swimming pool or even your bathtub. Your doctor should give you the green light before you do; most times, it does not exceed seven days from the biopsy date.
Keep the skin area clean by cleaning it two times every day. If the biopsy wound is on your scalp, clean it only once daily. Before cleaning the area, prepare yourself by washing your hands with water and soap. Then, wash the affected area with water and soap unless it is your scalp. Then, wash it with some shampoo.
Rinse and thoroughly dry the area before applying petroleum jelly. It is crucial to use a fresh jar of jelly when you first perform the care of the wound. That way, you know it is not contaminated. Also, always use a clean wad of cotton wool to apply the jelly to the injury.
Afterward, cover the area with a Band-Aid or any other type of adhesive bandage. You do not need to cover it after about three days of constant care. Your doctor will let you know when the wound is healed so that you can stop the care, but biopsy wounds tend to take up to two months to heal completely.
Itching After a Skin Biopsy – Remedy
A skin biopsy does not usually lead to itching. But see your doctor about the condition if you find your skin itching around the biopsy area. It may be due to an allergic reaction to the antibiotic used to prevent infection on the wound. It may also stem from any other source; your doctor is in the best position to check and determine the root cause. They may recommend using a cool compress and applying petroleum jelly to the itchy skin area after stopping the antibiotic.
What Happens After a Skin Biopsy?
You will need to take care of the skin after a biopsy because the procedure usually involves breaking the skin to get cells or skin samples for tests. That means you may bleed, especially if you use blood thinners, but not excessively. Your doctor may recommend applying pressure to reduce the blood flow, but not everyone bleeds a lot after a biopsy. If you are on a blood thinner, you may bleed more because your blood will not clot as quickly as it should.
Keep an eye on the wound until it heals. Clean it as often as twice a day with water and soap. Pat the area dry after washing; do not rub or scrub. Afterward, apply some petroleum jelly over the site as a form of protection. Then, cover it with a Band-Aid.
Keep pressure and strain away from the affected area until it heals. Otherwise, you risk opening the wound and increasing the chance of infection. It may also make the wound bigger and the eventual scar larger.
Follow this process for as long as it takes the wound to heal, which may be as long as two months or as short as a few weeks. If you notice bleeding or increased pain, see your doctor as quickly as possible.
Swimming After a Skin Biopsy
Experts recommend keeping the affected skin area as dry as possible after a biopsy. You can shower the day following the procedure, but you must change the Band-Aid after patting your skin dry. However, that is the most you can as far as getting wet is concerned. You cannot soak in a tub or swim while the wound needs to be covered with Band-Aids. After this period, you can ask your doctor whether or not you can resume swimming.
Exercise After a Skin Biopsy
It is vital to refrain from any activity that may affect the biopsy area and cause injury, such as exercising or lifting heavy objects. That is because the skin area will feel sore and uncomfortable, which leaves it tender. Straining it may break it and cause bleeding. It may take a day or two before the soreness begins to wear off. Then, you can get clearance from your doctor about workouts.
Bleeding and Infection After a Skin Biopsy
You may find minor bleeding in the biopsy site, depending on the skin area and type of biopsy. In some cases, all you will see is a little pink fluid draining from the site. The slight bleeding or pink-fluid draining does not last more than a couple of days, so it does not cause any damage.
But if you find the site bleeding excessively, even through a Band-Aid, it is vital to see your doctor. The same applies if the site has pus, turns yellow or red, with accompanying pain and swelling. It means it is infected.
Black Spot After a Skin Biopsy – Treatment
You may have to go back to the doctor if you find a black or dark spot on the biopsy site after the procedure. It usually does not signify a recurring issue, but it may result from incomplete excision or cautery charring if cautery was used.
The doctor may have used the shaving method to remove the skin sample or mole. If that is the case, they may not have excised all the affected areas, leaving some affected cells behind. Exposure to the sun causes pigmentation, which is the black spot you see.
Another possibility is that the cautery charred the tissue on the site, turning it black. Whichever is the case, it is not a cause for worry. However, see your doctor in order to be sure there is no new growth on the site.
How Long Does It Take a Skin Biopsy to Heal?
Healing may take a few weeks, depending on the skin area. But it typically takes about two months for complete healing. If the biopsy wound is on your feet or legs, it may take a little longer than other body areas.
Will Skin Biopsy Leave a Scar?
Most skin biopsies leave a scar, no matter how small. The size and type of scar will depend on the biopsy method employed. You may find keloid scars, a kind of scar where the skin is raised, or minimal, barely visible scars.
Scars can be an aesthetic concern, so it is important to speak with your doctor if you have such concerns. It is best to get acquainted with the possible scarring before the procedure begins.
How to Skin Biopsy – Procedure
There is a preparation period before a doctor can perform a skin biopsy. First, you must let the doctor know whether or not you have allergies, especially to antibiotics and anesthetics. The doctor will also need to know if you have any pre-existing condition or are on any medications. Issues such as skin infections or a bleeding disorder can affect the procedure. The same is true if you are on medication such as a blood thinner or aspirin.
When everything is clear, and you are certified ready for the procedure, you may need to change into a sterilized hospital gown. Then, a medical staff cleans and marks the skin area for the biopsy. The doctor injects you with an anesthetic to numb the site before performing the procedure. That way, you will not feel any discomfort or pain.
There are three types of biopsies, and your doctor may use any one of them. There is the excisional biopsy, where the doctor excises an entire affected skin area with a little healthy skin using a scalpel. It is a thorough method that captures different skin laters.
Another type is the punch biopsy, where the doctor uses a circular tool to cut out a small skin area. It will include deeper layers for a more thorough job, but not as thorough as the excisional method. Finally, there is the shave biopsy, where the doctor uses a cautery or a similar tool to shave off a small top layer of skin.
There may be some bleeding, whichever method your doctor uses. But the shave biopsy may not cause as much bleeding as the excisional or punch biopsy. In the latter two, you may need stitches and a bandage. Afterward, the doctor will give you care instructions for the wound for proper and speedy healing.
A breast biopsy takes different approaches from a skin biopsy. There are different types and methods employed, depending on the location of the breast lump and the size. Therefore, the process is different, depending on the type and method used.
Pain After Skin Biopsy – What to Do
You can get an over-the-counter pain reliever such as Tylenol. Your doctor may also prescribe other medications for the pain. It is normal to feel some pain or soreness after a skin biopsy, especially if you have stitches. But the pain will gradually ease off as the wound keeps healing.
Red Skin After Breast Biopsy – Treatment
The skin around the biopsy site on your breast may appear a little red after the procedure, which is typical. As time passes, the redness should disappear along with the pain. But see a doctor if the red skin comes with swelling, increased pain, bleeding, or other fluid drainages. Do the same if you have a fever or chills.
Yellow Skin After a Breast Biopsy – What It Means
The biopsy site may turn different colors as it heals, including blue, green, and yellow. The discoloration should disappear within a few weeks. But if the yellow skin is accompanied by pain, swelling, and drainage of pus or other fluids, see your doctor as soon as possible.
Skin Rash After a Breast Biopsy
Seek medical attention immediately you notice a rash on your skin following a breast biopsy. The rash may come with itching, which may point to an allergy. You may be reacting to a medication, or there may be another underlying cause of the rash. Only a doctor can determine the source and treat it.
Skin Dimpling After a Breast Biopsy – What to Do
You may need a second biopsy if you find your skin dimpling after a breast biopsy. While it does not necessarily mean anything serious, you may have inflammatory breast cancer. Other signs it may be cancer is warmth in the area and swelling. Also, you may feel some pain and experience a burning sensation, with your breast feeling tender. Do not hesitate to see a doctor for proper examination and possibly more biopsies. The same applies if you notice your skin peeling after a breast biopsy.
Can Cancer Spread After a Biopsy?
It is rare, but cancer may spread after you get a skin biopsy. Needle or tumor seeding is when the needle used in biopsying a tumor dislodges cancerous cells, causing them to spread to other areas. The cells may follow the track created by the needle during the biopsy.
How to Tell If Skin Biopsy Is Infected
Signs of infection include red skin that does not resolve but expands, pus draining from the site, a significant amount of pain, and a fever. The area may also feel tender to the touch or warm. It is rare to find a biopsy site getting infected, but see a doctor as quickly as possible if you notice one or more of these signs.
Skin after a biopsy needs careful attention, though the skin tends to take care of itself. Biopsies are not always invasive, so your skin will spring back to normal if you follow the care instructions from your doctor or the ones explained in this article.
However, see your doctor if you notice any discoloration, increased bleeding and pain, swelling, rash, pus, or other uncommon signs. The biopsy site may be infected, or there may be an underlying health condition.