A 42-year-old female asked:
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how accurate is a skin biopsy for lupus? can you have a false/ positive test result?

2 doctor answers
Dr. Robert Jackson
42 years experience Dermatology
Accurate: Discuss with your dermatologist.
Answered on Apr 27, 2013
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Dr. Emily Altman
27 years experience Dermatology
Lupus biopsy: Biopsy of lupus has a number of features that lead to diagnosis: a thickened basement membrane, vacuolar alteration of basal keratinocytes and superficial and deep inflammatory infiltrate. Lupus has a number of different forms in the skin and there are times when it is not easy to differentiate it from other types of skin inflammation. There are other tests to support diagnosis.
Answered on Apr 2, 2015
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1 comment
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Dr. James Davie
Dr. James Davie commented
22 years experience Pathology
Direct immunofluorescence studies may be performed on a separate skin biopsy to help confirm the results of lupus (which may resemble other inflammatory dermatoses). In addition, serologic studies (blood tests) for anti-nuclear antibodies is also helpful for confirmation. in short, a skin biopsy is only part of multiple criteria that must be satisfied for a diagnosis of lupus.
May 15, 2014

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