Skin Biopsy Types: Understanding the Different Types of Skin Biopsy

A skin biopsy is a procedure where cells from the surface of your body is removed so they can be tested in a lab. This procedure is used to diagnose and treat skin conditions and diseases, such as skin cancer, skin tags, irregular moles and/or growths and other blistering skin disorders.


If you have a suspicious skin condition, you can consult the best dermatologist in East New York and inquire about our skin biopsy service at Doral Health and Wellness Dermatology Center.


There are several types of skin biopsy procedures, each serving a different and specific purpose in diagnosing skin conditions. Here are some of the common types:


  1. Punch Biopsy
  • Procedure — A circular tool is used to remove a small, cylindrical tissue sample from the skin’s deeper layers.
  • Purpose — Useful for diagnosing various skin conditions and obtaining a deeper tissue sample.


  1. Shave Biopsy
  • Procedure — A scalpel or razor is used to shave off a superficial section of the skin, including the lesion.
  • Purpose — Suitable for raised or accessible skin lesions, providing a sample for examination.


  1. Excisional Biopsy
  • Procedure — The entire lesion or a significant portion of it is surgically removed.
  • Purpose — Often performed when a deeper or larger tissue sample is needed, or when removing the entire lesion is more beneficial.


  1. Incisional Biopsy
  • Procedure — Only a portion of the lesion is removed, usually a wedge or part of the tissue.
  • Purpose — Helpful when obtaining a sample from a specific area of a larger lesion is sufficient for diagnosis.


  1. Fine Needle Aspiration (FNA)
  • Procedure — A thin, hollow needle is used to extract a small tissue sample from the skin or a superficial lesion.
  • Purpose — Commonly used to sample cysts, nodules, or superficial masses.


  1. Scrape Biopsy (Curettage)
  • Procedure — A curette, a spoon-shaped instrument, is used to scrape off the top layers of the skin.
  • Purpose — Suitable for diagnosing superficial skin conditions, such as certain types of skin cancer.


  1. Brush Biopsy
  • Procedure — A brush or similar tool is used to gently collect surface cells for examination.
  • Purpose — Often used for lesions that are easily accessible, providing a less invasive sampling method.


  1. Tzanck Smear
  • Procedure — A sample is obtained by scraping the base of a blister or ulcer.
  • Purpose — Used to diagnose viral infections like herpes or pemphigus.


  1. Lymph Node Biopsy
  • Procedure — If there is concern about the spread of skin cancer, a biopsy of nearby lymph nodes may be performed.
  • Purpose — Helps determine if cancer has spread beyond the skin.


The choice of biopsy type will depend on various factors, including the suspected condition, lesion characteristics, and the depth of tissue needed for a more accurate diagnosis. Dermatologists or other medical providers will determine the most appropriate biopsy method based on the specific case.


If you have a skin condition that needs skin biopsy, you can consult the best dermatologist in East New York. At Doral Health and Wellness Dermatology Center, we also treat different types of chronic skin conditions. Our dermatologists are equipped with the right knowledge and expertise to help you treat and manage your chronic skin condition. You can visit us at 1797 Pitkin Avenue, Brooklyn, New York, 11212, to schedule an appointment. You can also call us at 1-347-384-5690 or visit our website at