Skin Sampling Procedures

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Skin Sampling Procedures

The dermatopathology laboratory receives a wide variety of surgical skin samples of various shapes and sizes from different areas of skin. The categories below outline the surgical procedure used to obtain the skin sample, the specimen shape, and which skin layers are typically involved. This information is useful during the gross examination as well as the various histology processes, including microscopic evaluation.
ProcedureShapeTissue Layers
ShaveFlat, thin, round, or oval with an irregular borderEpidermis/ dermis
Punch Cone or cylinder with a tapered, fatty endEpidermis/ dermis/ subcutis
ExcisionElliptical, oval, or roundEpidermis/ dermis/ subcutis
CurettageThin with multiple irregular fragmentsEpidermis
Nail clippingsCrescentKeratin

Layers of skin revealed in a shave biopsy
Layers of skin revealed in a punch biopsy