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January 2014

Nonspecific Histopathological DiagnosesThe Impact of Partial Biopsy and the Need for a Consensus Guideline

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Dermatology, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio
  • 2Nelson Dermatopathology Associates, Atlanta, Georgia
JAMA Dermatol. 2014;150(1):11-12. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2013.7227

Partial skin biopsies have an impact on histopathological diagnoses. In March 2010, JAMA Dermatology published a study that found increased odds of misdiagnosis and microstaging inaccuracy of punch and shave biopsies for melanomas over excisional biopsies.1 In a subsequent comment on an opinion piece about biopsy technique and specimen size,2 Stratman3 highlighted the lack of consensus guidelines for correct biopsy techniques. Since then, nothing has changed. The American Academy of Dermatology has developed numerous clinical guidelines regarding office-based surgery, liposuction, atopic dermatitis, and so on, but a consensus guideline for adequate biopsy techniques is still missing.

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