Biopsy of a foot lesion
Last update: 20 February 2021
Common in podiatry, the biopsy is a minor foot surgery that lets the podiatrist thoroughly analyze suspicious lesions. In this way, the podiatrist can precisely identify the type of their patients’ dermatological pathology. The podiatrist can then outline a treatment based on the analyzes’ results.
What is a biopsy of the foot?
In a foot biopsy, a small sample of the soft tissue affected by a suspicious lesion is removed to evaluate the whole, after local anesthesia. It is then sent to a laboratory for analysis.
In particular, the biopsy of a foot lesion allows the podiatrist to assess:
- The extent of the lesion over time;
- Changes in size, shape, and color;
- The severity of the foot lesion;
- The diagnosis of the exact foot pathology.
Which foot lesions can a biopsy detect?
As mentioned above, in case of uncertainty, biopsy makes it possible to confirm certain diagnoses, thus letting the podiatrist determine the appropriate treatment.
Depending on the case, a biopsy may be required for any dermatological problem of the foot, particularly in:
- A localized, chronic skin problem;
- A localized, growing skin lesion;
- A new lesion that is difficult to identify;
- Some chronic ulcers.
What patients can expect from their foot lesion biopsy
The foot biopsy is done to evaluate a lesion in order to treat it more efficiently. Therefore, after this procedure, the patient can expect a diligent analysis of the sample that will provide clear answers to all of their questions.
After a biopsy, the podiatrist should have all the information necessary to provide their client with a concrete explanation of the foot lesion’s appearance and characteristics.
When should you do a foot biopsy?
There isn’t always a need for a foot lesion biopsy. In fact, it will only be used when a lesion under the foot isn’t adequately responding to treatment, or when the podiatrist’s dermatologic diagnosis is uncertain.
Thus, this procedure is only performed on patients who have already unsuccessfully attempted to treat their foot lesion through several other means.
How to choose the right podiatrist for your foot biopsy?
When resorting to a biopsy, one should make sure to choose a podiatrist who has a good sense of popularization. The podiatrist must be able to explain the laboratory analyzes’ results in easily understandable terms. They must then accurately diagnose the patient and design a personalized treatment based on the biopsy.
The podiatrist must also:
- Have a human approach;
- Be present and available;
- Be versatile in their practice.
Patient history is crucial
The attending podiatrist must consider the patient’s entire medical history in order to perform a good biopsy of a foot lesion. That medical history can sometimes explain why a wound has grown or became discolored over time.
It is thus essential to ask specific questions and actively listen to create the most efficient and personalized treatment plan.
It would make no sense to perform a foot biopsy without first conducting a clinical foot examination. During this examination, the observations made by the podiatrist will often play an important role in analyzing the condition.
In particular, the podiatrist can assess:
- Your surgical history;
- Your medical history;
- Your vascular system;
- Your lifestyle;
- Your medications;
- Your allergies.
Other possible treatments
The treatments that will cure your foot lesions vary from case to case. Before performing a biopsy, the podiatrist may suggest other ways to treat you, such as:
- Foot care;
- Topical medicated ointment;
- Surgical excision;
- Follow-up examination of your condition;
- Therapeutic tape.
The benefits of foot lesion biopsy
The biopsy of a foot lesion offers a number of benefits:
- You get a clear diagnosis of your condition;
- You will know the severity of your lesions;
- You will get an explanation for why you have lesions on your foot;
- You will receive the appropriate treatment;
- You will heal faster.
Furthermore, the biopsy procedure performed by PiedReseau podiatrists usually goes very smoothly for the patients, as local anesthesia guarantees that it is painless.
Why a podiatrist?
Beyond performing a biopsy, you need the expertise to interpret the analysis’ results. The podiatrist is trained in using a foot biopsy to design a custom treatment based on the diagnosis.
The podiatrist’s expertise is ideal for:
- Facilitating your support;
- Getting proper advice;
- Getting referrals to the right medical professionals if necessary;
- Benefitting from comprehensive support;
- Attending close follow-up visits;
- Preventing possible complications.
Choosing PiedReseau offers you the following benefits
Entrusting your feet to a podiatry clinic network has its share of benefits, such as:
- Easy access to a nearby clinic;
- Quick contact with a podiatrist;
- Follow-ups of your condition anywhere in Quebec.
PiedReseau clinics offer quick support and clear answers to your questions, wherever you may be in the province – here’s one of the main benefits of having a network of professionals.
The foot biopsy procedure
The podiatrist can take your foot lesion in 3 different ways, depending on the case.
- Punch biopsy: This procedure involves acquiring a punch-size piece of skin. It may require stitches.
- Shave biopsy: The podiatrist shaves off a thin layer of skin with a small scalpel, under local anesthesia. It usually does not require stitches.
- Elliptical excision: The most invasive of the 3, this type of biopsy removes the entire lesion. This procedure requires subsequent suturing.
A pathologist should provide a diagnosis after the biopsy. Depending on the complexity, this process can take place over a period of about 2 weeks to 2 months.
In some cases, you may have to be treated by a specialist if the diagnosis proves to be beyond your podiatrist’s expertise.
How long does it take to recover from a foot lesion biopsy?
The length of your recovery can vary greatly, as it depends on the type of biopsy performed, the number of stitches required (if any), as well as the complexity of your lesion. Only your podiatrist can accurately estimate how long it will take for you to recover. However, it’s worth noting that recovery from biopsy rarely takes longer than 14 days.
Closely follow your podiatrist’s instructions
Your ability to follow your podiatrist’s instructions is crucial for the success of your foot biopsy and the subsequent treatment. Be sure to follow them to the letter before and after your biopsy.