A skin lesion is a growth that develops on the skin. This may include seborrheic keratoses, moles, skin tag, lentigo and freckles. Skin lesions can be benign or malignant at times. This is why you need to get medical assistance and a complete Lesion Evaluation. Here at the Maryland Plastic Surgery pure med spa and cosmetic surgery center, we provide a comprehensive and collaborative team approach to the diagnosis and management of pigmented lesions.
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Identifying pigmented lesions that are potentially melanoma is one of the most important and difficult tasks within dermatology.
Why should I have my skin lesions evaluated
Most skin lesions are benign; however, some concern has caused the patient to make an inquiry, and a correct diagnosis is important. The plethora of dermatologic conditions makes a correct diagnosis challenging. To combat this, the clinician must approach the evaluation of the lesion in a systematic way. In addition to the physical characteristics of the lesion, the patient’s demographics, presence of associated symptoms, related systemic disorders, and location and growth patterns of the lesion all give clues to adequately diagnose and treat.
The accurate diagnosis of any skin lesions can be made by histologic examination of a skin biopsy. However, clinicians must gain the clinical acumen to correctly identify common benign skin lesions and to distinguish those skin conditions that do need a biopsy and possible further treatment.
What to Expect
Initially, benign lesions must be differentiated from malignant lesions. This is best done by being familiar with characteristics of common malignant lesions. The clinician should try to categorize any skin lesion as one of the following: most likely benign, most likely malignant, or unclear. The last 2 categories should be biopsied. Once the benign nature of the lesions is assumed, the diagnosis must be made accurately in order to assess any future malignant potential. A critical caveat is that all benign lesions must be watched by the patient and examined by a clinician should any changes occur.
Lesion Evaluation requires little preparation from you. If you’re having the evaluation done on an open wound or infected patch of skin, our doctors will have to remove any bandaging.
There are several ways your doctor may remove a sample of tissue. The method your doctor chooses for you will depend on the reason for the biopsy location, size, and type of your lesion or sore.
Before any type of biopsy, you’ll receive local anesthesia to numb the biopsy site. Possible methods of collecting a skin sample for biopsy include the following.
- Shave biopsy: Your doctor will remove only the outermost layers of your skin with a special razor blade or scalpel.
- Punch biopsy: This uses a small, tube-like instrument with a sharp end that works like a cookie cutter. Once the right sample is taken, your doctor will remove the skin sample with tweezers and close the incision with a single stitch.
- Excisional biopsy: This is used to remove the entire lesion. Your doctor makes an incision and, going as deeply as necessary, removes the entire lesion. Several stitches are used to close the wound.
- Incisional biopsy: This is used to remove a small part of a larger lesion. The procedure is the same as with the excisional biopsy.
If your doctor suspects that a growth is caused by the most aggressive form of skin cancer (melanoma), they will use an excisional biopsy to remove any potentially cancerous tissue along with a small border of healthy skin. The sample will then be sent to the lab for testing.
After the biopsy, the wound will be covered with gauze and other bandaging. You’ll be able to go home once the sample has been taken.
After the tissue sample is taken, it’s sent to a laboratory for testing. It usually takes about one week for the results to come back, but some tests can take longer. If it’s an emergency situation, like an aggressive infection or cancer, your doctor may put a rush on the results.
When the results of your tests are back, your doctor may discuss them with you over the phone or call you into their office for a follow-up appointment to share the results.
If your results show signs of cancer or other problems, your doctor will discuss the next course of action. This may include other tests or treatments.
Frequently Asked Questions About Evaluate Lesions:
Click on a question below to see the answer.
Q: How do I identify a suspicious lesion?
A: It is important to know your skin and what’s normal for you. This can be accomplished by monthly self-skin examinations.
Checking over your body regularly for any new growths and changes to preexisting moles is important to help identify suspicious lesions. Address any new, changing, or rapidly growing lesions with us.
Monthly self-examinations combined with routine dermatologic evaluations can greatly improve the likelihood of catching a skin cancer early and treating it effectively and efficiently.
When completing your self-examination, here is what to look for:
- Changes in the size, shape, or color of a mole or growth.
- A lesion that is rough, oozing, bleeding, or scaly.
- A sore lesion that will not heal.
- Pain, itching, or tenderness to a lesion
To get a full evaluation of your lesions do not hesitate to contact us right away for an appointment!
Q: How long will lesion evaluation take?
A: On average, a lesion evaluation takes about half an hour.
Q: What do I do when my lesion is confirmed to be cancerous?
A: Relax, take a deep breath. We are here to help you. After the evaluation we will provide you with professional consultation and suggestions for the next steps to take.
Q: What kind of skin lesions can be removed?
A: There are many type of skin lesions. Here is a complete list of all skin lesions which can be removed:
- Vascular Lesions
- Cherry Angiomas
- Spider Angiomas
- Venous Lake
- Blue Facial Veins
- Port Wine Stains
- Spider Veins
- Dermatosis Papulosis Nigra
- Skin Tags