Integrated Punch Biopsy

Johns Hopkins University

When faced with an abnormal skin lesion, physicians are often required to perform a biopsy to obtain a sample of the tissue. Types of skin biopsies include shave, excisional, and punch, and the samples provided by each differ in size and depth. Punch biopsies are the primary technique used to acquire full-thickness specimens because they obtain the epidermis, the dermis and the subcutaneous tissue. Punch biopsies, however, are technique-dependent and require multiple surgical instruments to perform. Two aspects of the procedure, namely the depth of the punch (sample thickness) and the mechanical handling of the specimen can particularly affect the quality of the sample.
The Integrated Punch Biopsy team is altering the design of the current punch tool, significantly decreasing the need for additional instruments, reducing cost and improving safety. The all-in-one device efficiently and safely transects and retrieves the skin sample. Closure of the defect is also addressed.