The skin biopsy is a simple but essential clinical skill of the general practitioner. Performed properly, it can be quick and comfortable for the patient, and yield a very high level of diagnostic information. Performed incorrectly, it can lead to delays in diagnosis and treatment for the patient.
This article reviews some simple but effective steps the clinician can take to ensure proper technique and maximise the diagnostic accuracy of their skin biopsies.
Diagnostic accuracy can be improved through optimal selection of biopsy site, correct biopsy technique, requesting ancillary tests where appropriate, proper handling of specimens, and providing detailed clinical information for the dermatopathologist.