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Skin Biopsies on Inpatients Carry High Complication Rate

Multiple procedural and patient-specific risk factors at work

TUESDAY, Oct. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Dermatologic diagnostic biopsies on inpatients have a high rate of wound complications due to a number of risk factors related to both the patient and procedures, according to a study published in the October issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

Shyamal Wahie, M.B., M.R.C.P., and Clifford M. Lawrence, M.D., F.R.C.P., of the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne, U.K., and colleagues analyzed the findings of a single observer of post-diagnostic skin biopsy wounds on 100 inpatient dermatologic surgery patients.

In total, 29 percent of patients experienced wound complications, 93 percent of which were due to infection. Biopsies performed below the waist were more likely to develop wound complications that those performed above the waist. Smokers were at higher risk than non-smokers, as were those taking corticosteroids versus those not taking them.

Biopsies conducted in an outpatient operating theater rather than on a ward were less likely to result in wound infection. Elliptical incisional biopsies were less likely to develop wound infections if subcutaneous sutures were used.

"Our findings have altered diagnostic biopsy practices in our own department," the authors wrote. "These findings are relevant for other centers with inpatients units where diagnostic biopsies are performed."

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