Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"How long should it take to biopsy a mole at an annual skin screening?"
I am having my annual skin screening and have a new mole growth. I'm 27, female, and I have a lot of moles. I think they'll want to biopsy this one. How much time does it take? And do I have to go in again after they do for more tests?
A biopsy of a mole is a very quick and simple procedure, depending, of course, on the size and location of the mole. For simple moles in a very easy to reach location, a punch biopsy involves only a few simple steps. First, you will receive a local injection of some numbing medication, often including lidocaine. This takes a few minutes to take effect, after which your doctor will use either a scalpel or a small tool for making a punch into your skin, which will then be cut off with scissors. You should feel only pressure during this entire procedure. The sample will then be saved and sent a pathologist for a microscopic review which will occur at some other time. You will often have a small stitch placed over the area, depending again on the size of the biopsy. The whole thing usually takes about 5 minutes, and can be performed quickly at the end of your annual skin screening. You should then hear back from your doctor's office in several days to a couple of weeks with the results of the biopsy, and discussion about what you need to do going forward. Good work for continuing with this preventive care, and good luck with the likely biopsy! Please address any further concerns to the office of your doctor who will be performing the biopsy.
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