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This is the first of a two-part series on the skin biopsy and discusses clinical indications for analysis. Part 2, in the next issue of Inside Diagnostics, will describe correct collection process for skin biopsy.

Part One: Indications for Skin Biopsy

1. Any eruption which does not follow its expected course or response to treatment

Whenever a skin disease behaves atypically, the diagnosis should be reviewed. The dermatopathologist can often help in this investigation.

2. Vesicular and bullous eruptions

In some cases the diagnosis is clinically obvious, for example acute allergic contact dermatitis, impetigo, or viral infections such as herpes simplex, varicella, or herpes zoster. However, with many vesiculobullous eruptions, the diagnosis can only be confirmed histologically.

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