Skin biopsy for inflammatory and common neoplastic skin diseases: optimum time, best location and preferred techniques. A critical review

Authors

  • Bahram Sina,

    1. Department of Dermatology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA
    2. Department of Dermatology, Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, DC, USA
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  • Grace F. Kao,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Veterans Affairs Maryland Healthcare System, Baltimore, MD, USA
    2. Department of Dermatology, George Washington University Medical School, Washington, DC, USA
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  • April C. Deng,

    1. Department of Pathology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA, USA
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  • Anthony A. Gaspari

    1. Department of Dermatology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA
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Grace F. Kao, MD, Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine (113), Veterans Affairs Maryland Healthcare System, 10 North Greene Street, Baltimore, MD 21201-1524, USA
Tel: (410) 605-7000 ext. 5312
Fax: (410) 605-7911
e-mail: grace.kao@va.gov

Abstract

The diagnosis of skin diseases, particularly inflammatory dermatoses, is based primarily on clinical information. Pathologic examination of the biopsied specimen often serves as a complementary or confirmative part of the diagnosis. However, the clinical diagnosis of skin diseases may be challenging, as the clinical information and appearance of skin lesions invariably overlap. Evidence for a correct diagnosis may be lacking without histopathologic examination of skin biopsies. It is well known that the histologic diagnosis of inflammatory and other skin diseases requires clinicopathologic correlation, and there is evolution of skin lesions into different stages as the diseases progress. Other factors important for accurate dermatopathologic diagnosis are optimum time, best location and preferred techniques of skin biopsy. In searching for available information concerning when, where and how to take skin biopsies, it is noted that there are only limited practical guidelines currently available. We present this review article in hopes that our collective dermatopathologic and dermatologic experience can provide a quick reference for accurate diagnosis and proper management of skin diseases.

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