A new device which significantly cuts down the time required for performing skin biopsies has been patented by scientists from the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) and the Institute for Health Research of the Hospital Ramón y Cajal.

A skin cancer biopsy done with the new tool can be performed with fewer instruments, procedure length is shortened from thirty minutes to less than five, and local anesthesia is not required. Specialized personnel are not required.

Faster skin biopsy results and diagnosis of will now become possible.

The current skin biopsy procedure involves manually cutting the skin’s base layer, removing it with forceps and then using one or two stitches to sew up the incision. This time intensive process limits the number of patients than be diagnosed.

With the new device, explains Jesús Meneses, one of the inventors from the MAQLAB Research Group at UC3M’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, a simple click will be enough to obtain a sample.

The doctor simply places the device on the patient’s skin, pushes a button at it’s top, and the device automatically cuts and collects a small tissue sample. All of which takes under five minutes to complete, as opposed to the 25-30 minutes needed for the conventional method.

Emiliano Grillo, dermatologist at Ramón y Cajal Hospital and clinical research associate at the Institute for Health Research of the Hospital Ramón y Cajal, notes that the invention will aid in earlier detection of skin cancer. It will also allow doctors to see a greater number of patients, which is important in fields such as dermatology which are overwhelmed by high patient demand.

Illustration: Universidad Carlos III de Madrid

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