Dr Chris Miller
Dr Chris Miller
Accredited skin cancer doctor
Punch biopsy
Punch biopsy is a minor procedure where a small round core is removed from a suspicious or undiagnosed skin lesion or rash using a circular blade. The removed tissue is then examined under a microscope to give a diagnosis.

Also known as

Punch biopsy
 is also known as:
Skin punch biopsy

Conditions treated

Punch biopsy
is used in the treatment of:
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How it’s performed

The doctor injects local anaesthetic into the skin to make it numb. They then use a round blade to cut a hole through the skin, using a twisting motion to drill through the full thickness. This produces a core-shaped specimen of skin which is removed. A small hole remains where the skin was removed. The doctor will apply pressure to control bleeding and then place a dressing over the area.

Preparing for


Punch biopsy

No specific preparation is required.

Side effects and complications

Bleeding, scarring, infection


Punch biopsy is performed as a test to establish the diagnosis of a suspicious or unknown skin lesion, often to find out whether it is a cancer and if so, how deep it goes. the main follow-up is to discuss the pathology results and decide what further treatment is required.



Punch biopsy sites sometimes bleed for several hours. There may be a crepe bandage wrapped around the area to control bleeding. If so, leave this bandage on overnight. Because there are no stitches, the skin will heal gradually from the bottom up. This often takes several weeks.


It's safe to undergo this procedure while you are pregnant.


Click on an image to view it in greater detail.


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15 Jul
Last updated:
30 Jan