What is a Soft Tissue Biopsy?
A soft tissue biopsy is the removal and microscopic examination of a small sample of soft tissue for diagnostic purposes. “Soft tissue” includes the skin, fat, muscle, and tendons that surround, connect, or support other tissues or organs.
Soft tissue biopsies require little time or involvement from the patient. They enable the foot and ankle surgeon to reach an accurate diagnosis and determine the best treatment for the specific condition.
Conditions Identified by Soft Tissue Biopsies
Non-surgical treatment may help relieve the pain of a plantar fibroma, although it will not make the mass disappear. The foot and ankle surgeon may select one or more of the following non-surgical options:
Benign pigmented, or colored, spots (moles or nevus)
Fungal or bacterial infections
Rashes (such as eczema or dermatitis)
Lesions related to a disease affecting the entire body (such as diabetes)
Nodular conditions (such as a ganglion cyst, lipoma, or fibroma)
Toenail conditions (onychomycosis, psoriasis)
Wart-like growths on the skin (benign keratoses)
Premalignant conditions (actinic and seborrheic keratoses)
What Does the Biopsy Involve?
A biopsy involves removal of a small piece of tissue, and takes just a few minutes. The procedure performed will depend on the tissue to be sampled. After numbing the area, the surgeon performs one of the following:
Shave biopsy. A thin piece of tissue is shaved off.
Punch biopsy. A small, round instrument removes a tiny core of tissue. Stitches may be needed.
Incisional or excisional biopsy. A piece, or the entire lesion, is removed. Stitches are often needed.
Once the sample is obtained, the surgeon sends it to a clinical laboratory so that the condition can be identified. The specimen will be examined by a pathologist who specializes in evaluating soft tissue biopsies.
After the Biopsy
Patients should follow the instructions provided by the surgeon for care of the biopsy site. If the area has stitches, an appointment will be scheduled for their removal.
It usually takes several days for the lab results to arrive at the surgeon’s office. If the patient has not heard about the results after 10 days, the surgeon’s office should be contacted. Biopsy results, as well as additional treatment that may be required, will then be discussed.
Skin and Nail Issue
Athlete's foot and fungal nails are the most common fungal problems with feet.
Many people don't realize they have a fungal nail problem and, therefore, don't seek treatment. Yet, fungal toenail infections are a common foot health problem and can persist for years without ever causing pain. The disease, characterized by a change in a toenail's color, is often considered nothing more than a mere blemish. Left untreated, however, it can present serious problems.
Click here for more information on fungal nails.
Ingrown toenails occur when the corners or sides of the toenail dig into the skin, often causing infection. Also known as onychocryptosis, ingrown toenails, start out hard,swollen, and tender. Left untreated, they may become sore, red, and infected and the skin may start to grow over the ingrown toenail. They are usually caused by trimming toenails too short, particularly on the sides of the big toes, and may also be caused by shoe pressure (from shoes that are too tight or short), injury, fungus infection, heredity, or poor foot structure. A common ailment, ingrown toenails can be painful. Click here for more information on ingrown toenails.
For more information on other common skin problems click each topic below.