A skin biopsy, where a physician removes a small sample of skin for testing, is a rapid and convenient office procedure that aids in the diagnosis of a patient's skin condition or lesion. Although usually done by a dermatologist, any physician who is skilled and knowledgeable with the technique and its indications can safely perform a skin biopsy. There are several techniques that involve sampling tissue from a skin lesion or eruption. Once removed, the tissue sample is processed and examined under a microscope by a pathologist. It usually takes several days before a final diagnosis is rendered.Skin biopsy procedure selection very much depends on the suspected diagnosis, size, and location of the lesion.
Q: I just developed impetigo. How does one get it as an adult?Impetigo is a superficial skin infection that is common in young children; however, individuals of any age can be affected. Impetigo is usually caused by bacteria from the staphylococcal (commonly known as staph) or streptococcal (commonly known as strep) species. Generally, those who are affected are carriers of these bacteria, meaning that their nostrils are colonized by the bacteria.
Q: My 88-year-old mother has been diagnosed with actinic keratoses on her face. Her physician has recommended Levulan Kerastick treatment. She does not know if she wants to go through with the treatment. What will happen if she does not have it?
Q: What is scabies rash?Scabies is a common condition caused by a tiny mite that is approximately the size of a pinhead. This mite burrows into the outermost layer of the skin and lays eggs. The body’s reaction to the mite causes inflammation and itching. The rash may look like red or scaling spots on locations such as the chest, buttock area, groin area, and hands and feet. The rash of scabies typically does not involve the scalp, except in children. The tell-tale lesion of scabies is called the burrow, which usually requires a magnifying glass to see.
Q: How can I tell if a skin rash is dangerous, or a sign of a dangerous condition? If your rash is accompanied with fever or chills, you should see a physician. It may be something as simple as a 24-hour virus, or it could indicate something more serious. There are a number of dangerous conditions that are urgent, and then there are some serious skin conditions that are not necessarily urgent. This distinction may not be easy for a patient to make, so it is necessary to see a physician. Some signs and symptoms that may indicate that a rash is dangerous include:
Q: How can I prevent scabies? The only way to prevent scabies is to avoid contact with any persons who are infected with scabies. If you suspect a rash on your body may be scabies, see a physician who can identify the clinical pattern of scabies. A physician may attempt to scrape off the mite and look at it through a microscope to make a definite diagnosis. There is no blood test for scabies. Some drugs and medicines can also make people more susceptible to scabies.
Q: I have a red, itchy rash under my armpit. I work out a lot. Could it be from sweating? It is difficult to say exactly what is causing the itching you are experiencing without seeing the rash in person. However, there are a few possibilities of what commonly cause an itchy rash in an individual’s armpits.
Q: How can I get rid of the skin rash and itch of hives?Hives is a prime example of a skin condition that responds extremely well to oral antihistamine treatment. A drug such as Benadryl®, Claritin®, or Zyrtec® can be very effective in relieving the rash and itch from hives. These drugs can also be obtained without a prescription. Hives can sometimes form around the mouth and can be associated with breathing problems. In more serious cases, a visit to the emergency room and sometimes adrenalin shots are necessary.
Q: I’m outdoors a lot. What can I do to prevent a rash? Sunlight can cause a lot of different skin reactions. The best way to prevent this is by wearing protective clothing and sunscreen. Plants that cause allergies, such as poison ivy, are commonly encountered by people who spend a lot of time outdoors. Stay away from plants you suspect could be poisonous, and wear gloves and protective clothing when gardening. Dr. Lowell Goldsmith and Dr. Jeff Bernhard contributed their expertise on behalf of VisualDx for the above information.