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Biopsies & Excisions Specialist

Debra Irizarry, MD, FACS

Plastic Surgeon & Dermatologist located in Crestone, CO & Salida, CO

Biopsies and excisions are diagnostic procedures that entail cutting away skin abnormalities for laboratory testing to determine whether cancer or other conditions are present. Board-certified Plastic Surgeon Dr. Debra Irizarry, with offices in Crestone and Salida, Colorado, has extensive experience in performing biopsies and excisions to address suspect skin blemishes, moles, or discolorations you may have. Call the office or book an appointment online today.

Biopsies & Excisions

What are biopsies and excisions?

Both biopsies and excisions involve cutting away suspect tissue for evaluation under a microscope in a laboratory.

Biopsies are tissue samples; they entail removing a portion of abnormal tissue, lesion, or tumor. An excision differs in that it is the complete removal of the abnormal tissue, typically including normal tissue surrounding the target area.

Sometimes, an excision is done after a biopsy determines there is cancer or another undesirable condition present.  

What other biopsy methods are there?

Fine needle aspiration is typically the least invasive procedure, using a small needle to take cells from an area of abnormality. Because its scope of tissue recovery is limited, fine needle aspiration may not be adequate for diagnosis.

Core needle biopsy removes cells from the target abnormality, but also small amounts of tissue surrounding the area, which may improve chances of identifying a lesion.

Are biopsies and excisions painful?

No. Before either procedure, a local anesthetic is injected to quickly numb the area and keep it numb throughout the biopsy or excision. The injection may cause a brief stinging sensation. Depending on the size on the incision, you may receive stitches. Following the procedure, Dr. Irizarry will provide instructions on caring for the procedure site. It needs to be kept clean and dry until completely healed.


Will I have a scar?

As a highly-experienced Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Irizarry excises lesions and repairs the wound in a way that will keep any scar to a minimum.

Are biopsies and excisions only used to diagnose cancer?

No. Dr. Irizarry could use an excision procedure to remove a mole you’ve had all your life, for example, but which you may no longer want for cosmetic reasons. Excising the mole may be very similar to excising a cancerous lesion. In fact, Dr. Irizarry may send your mole to the lab for testing as standard procedure, even though there’s little chance of finding cancer cells.