Punch Biopsy (General Surgery)

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  • To obtain a tissue sample for diagnostic testing
  • To obtain a deep-tissue culture
  • To perform an excision for curative or cosmetic purposes
  • Significant coagulopathy
  • Allergy to any materials or anesthetics to be used
  • Partial-thickness biopsies contraindicated if melanoma is suspected
  • Nonsterile gloves (sterile if sutures are to be placed)
  • Alcohol wipes
  • Local anesthetic (0.5-1 mL of 1%-2% lidocaine with or without epinephrine)
  • Hemostatic agents (Monsel's solution, aluminum chloride, or gel foam)
  • Antibiotic ointment and adhesive bandage
  • Specimen container, usually containing formalin
  • 3- or 4-mm punch biopsy tool
  • Pickups and sharp fine-tissue scissors
  • Suture kit or Steri-Strips, if needed
  • The epidermis is the outermost epithelial layer, exterior to the dermis.
  • The subcutaneous tissue consists of adipose tissue and larger blood vessels and nerves.

Sample excerpt does not include step-by-step text instructions for performing this procedure
The full content of this section includes:
  • Step-by-step text instructions for performing the procedure
  • Clinical pearls providing practical clinical tips from medical experts
  • Patient safety guidelines consistent with Joint Commission and OHSA standards
  • Links to medical evidence and related procedures

  • Protect the wound for 24 to 48 hours with a moist dressing (e.g., with ointment).
  • Have the patient follow up for suture removal.
  • Instruct the patient to return if signs of wound infection become apparent.
  • Notify the patient of biopsy results and the need for any further treatment.
  • Pain
  • Infection
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Scarring
  • Missing the correct diagnosis
  • Allergic reactions to materials or anesthetics
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