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Punch biopsy

Skin punch placed over growth on skin, with detail of punch pushed down into layers of skin and rotated to remove growth.

A punch biopsy is done to remove a skin growth (lesion). A sharp tool called a skin punch is used. The tool works like a tiny cookie cutter. The doctor gives a local anesthetic to numb the area. Then the tool is placed over the growth, pushed down, and slowly rotated to remove a circular core of skin. The biopsy area is then covered with a bandage.

After the growth is removed, a doctor trained to look at tissue samples (pathologist) will check it for cell changes, such as cancer. The pathologist also may do tests to detect an infection caused by a virus, a fungus, or bacteria.

Current as of: November 16, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
Clinical Review Board
All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.


PeaceHealth endeavors to provide comprehensive health care information, however some topics in this database describe services and procedures not offered by our providers or within our facilities because they do not comply with, nor are they condoned by, the ethics policies of our organization.