A biopsy is a simple procedure used to extract a sample of cells or tissues for further examination.

What is a biopsy?

A biopsy is a simple procedure used to extract a sample of cells or tissues for further examination. The examination is done to check for the presence or extent of a disease. At Boise Dermatology & Medspa, Dr. Brooks and her P.A. Sammy Verner perform skin biopsies to check for cancer and treat actinic keratosis, dermatitis, psoriasiswartsmoles, and other skin conditions.

A skin biopsy removes cells or a sample of skin from the surface of the body. The sample is then examined to provide more information about your medical condition. With biopsies, we can diagnose or rule out certain skin cancers and diseases. There are three types of biopsies: shave, punch, and excisional. These types primarily differ by the tool that is used and the amount of sample that is taken.

With a shave biopsy, a tool similar to a razor is used to remove a small sample of skin. With a punch biopsy, a circular tool is used to remove a small section of skin, including the epidermis, dermis, and superficial fat. An excisional biopsy removes cells or samples of skin from the surface of the body.

Why are biopsies performed?

With a biopsy, Dr. Brooks and Sammy can diagnose or rule out skin cancers, such as melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma. But she can also use this procedure to remove skin lesions. Before your biopsy is performed, it is essential to tell your provider if you have been diagnosed with a bleeding disorder, if you have a history of skin infections, or if you are taking medications that either suppress your immune system or cause blood thinning.

What can I expect during a biopsy?

Your experience will depend on the type of biopsy you receive. For shave biopsies, Dr. Brooks or Sammy will use a sharp, double-edged razor or scalpel to cut the tissue. The depth of the incision will vary, depending on the part of the body that is being targeted. The procedure does cause bleeding, which will be stopped by the application of pressure. A topical cream will then be applied to the site of the cut.

For punch or excisional biopsies, the procedure involves cutting into the top layer of fat beneath the skin. Stitches may be needed to close the wound and dressing, or an adhesive bandage is then used to protect your wound and prevent bleeding.

When can I expect the results?

After your procedure, we will send the sample to a lab for testing. The results can take several days or a couple of weeks, depending on the skin condition, type of biopsy, and lab procedures. We will schedule a follow-up with you to discuss the test results. Please do not hesitate to raise any questions or concerns that you have you during your appointments. We want to be as helpful and transparent as possible. If treatments are needed, they can be performed by Dr. Brooks or Sammy.

Request an appointment at Boise Dermatology

If you want to remove a skin lesion or you think you may need a biopsy, request an appointment at Boise Dermatology through our website. You can also give us a call at (208) 888-0660 to set up an appointment with Dr. Brooks, our board-certified dermatologist.

Concerns treated by Biopsy*


We're happy to answer any questions you may have, feel free to call us at
(208) 888-0660