Which dermatology services does Blue Water Medical provide?
Dermatology is the branch of medicine that focuses on the skin, hair and nails, including their associated diseases. At Blue Water Medical in Vancouver, we address certain skin concerns by providing the following dermatology services:
- Dermatology exams
- Skin biopsies/excisions
At our family medical practice, we do provide dermatology exams to patients of all ages. Our physicians are specially trained to check your skin for any issues. Your medical history will also be taken into account. If you have any spots on your body that you are worried about, we encourage you to discuss this with our staff. Any notable changes to your moles should be inspected and discussed. If we do suspect that a spot may be cancerous, we will order a biopsy.
What are skin biopsies?
A skin biopsy is a procedure that removes cells or samples of skin from the surface of the body. The skin sample is then examined in a lab to provide information about a person’s medical condition. Skin biopsies can be done one of three ways: shave, punch and excisional. With a shave biopsy, skin is removed using a tool similar to a razor. The tool used in a punch biopsy is circular and removes small sections of skin, including deeper layers (epidermis, dermis and superficial fat).
What are excisional biopsies?
During an excisional biopsy, we will use a scalpel to remove a lump or an entire area of abnormal skin. A small portion of normal skin down to or through a fatty layer of skin will also be removed for the sample. You will receive a local anesthetic beforehand to numb the area. The numbing medication may cause a temporary burning sensation, but this will fade after a few seconds. With the biopsy site numb, you shouldn’t feel any discomfort or pain during the procedure. Stitches may be needed to close the wound and adhesive bandages will be placed over the excision to prevent bleeding and to protect the wound.
Why are biopsies performed?
Skin biopsies are performed to rule out or diagnose serious skin conditions and diseases. Skin lesions can also be removed with this procedure. Biopsies are extremely helpful and necessary for diagnosing:
- Actinic keratosis (crusty, scaly growths caused by skin damage)
- Bullous pemphigoid (a blistering skin disorder)
- Dermatitis (an itchy inflammation of the skin)
- Moles or growths that could be cancerous
- Psoriasis (itchy, dry patches of skin)
- Skin cancers (melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma)
- Skin infections
- Skin tags
When can I expect the results?
After the procedure, we will send the skin sample to a lab for testing. Results may take several days or multiple weeks to come back. A follow-up appointment will be scheduled to review the results with you. We encourage you to ask questions and get a full understanding of the results.
Request an appointment in Vancouver
If you have any questions or concerns about skin biopsies or excisional biopsies, give us a call at (604) 558-3185. If you live in the Vancouver area and you have a skin condition or concern that you’d like to get checked out, schedule an appointment at our family medical practice. You can set up an appointment over the phone, or you can request one by filling out the form on our website.
*Individual results may vary; not a guarantee.