What is a shave excision?
A shave excision is a simple procedure that
your doctor can use to remove growths, such as moles, lesions, and tumors, from
your skin. The primary tool used in this procedure is a sharp razor. You doctor
may use also use an electrode to feather the edges of the excision
site to make the scar less noticeable.
Once they’ve removed the growth, your doctor may send it to
a laboratory for analysis. This can help them learn whether it’s cancerous.
is a shave excision performed?
If you have a skin growth that you want removed, or your
doctor suspects a growth may be cancerous, they may recommend a shave excision.
This simple procedure is less invasive and expensive to perform than a
full-thickness skin excision. A full-thickness skin excision
requires sutures, or stitches, while a shave excision doesn’t. As a result, a
shave excision typically produces a less noticeable scar.
is a shave excision performed?
A shave excision is usually performed using local anesthesia,
which ensures that you feel no pain during the procedure.
To perform a shave excision, your doctor will likely follow
- They will inject the area
under the growth with a numbing medicine or anesthetic. In addition to preventing
pain, the anesthetic will cause the growth to rise upward, making it easier to
- Then they will cut the growth
off with a sharp razor using multiple horizontal cuts. You may feel a pushing
sensation as the cuts are made, but you shouldn’t feel pain.
- They may perform some
electrosurgical feathering using a small dermal loop electrode to shape the
edges of the wound. Feathering helps remove cells from the growth that have
been left behind and minimizes scarring by blending the edges of the wound with
your surrounding skin.
- They may also apply a
chemical such as aluminum chloride hexahydrate to your skin to stop bleeding.
- Then they will clean the
surgical site and apply a soothing antibiotic ointment to encourage healing.
- Finally, they will cover the
wound with a sterile bandage to stop it from rubbing on your clothes. This will
also help lower your risk of infection.
happens after a shave excision?
If your doctor suspects the growth may be cancerous, they
will send it to a laboratory for testing. They will contact you with the test
results when they’re available.
In the meantime, they’ll likely ask you to keep the excision
site dry for 24 hours, and they’ll provide you with instructions about when to
remove or change the bandage. While it’s healing, you should keep the site
covered when you’re in bright sunlight, as a sunburn can permanently darken the
wound, making the scar more noticeable.
You may feel some discomfort or a burning sensation where the
growth was removed. You can take over-the-counter painkillers, such as
acetaminophen or ibuprofen, to relieve discomfort. Your doctor may also advise
you to apply an antibiotic ointment to the wound to promote healing.
The excision site may be red for a few weeks, but it will
gradually get lighter. Try to be patient; the healing process can be slow. If
you notice excessive scarring or signs of infection developing, call your
do test results mean?
Your doctor may send the growth to a laboratory for analysis
to determine whether it’s noncancerous, or benign. Benign growths include:
- angiofibroma, which are small reddish-brown lesions
- skin tags, which are stalk-like protruding lesions
- dermatofibroma, which are small hard lesions that
usually occur on the lower body
Alternately, your doctor may learn that the growth is
cancerous, or malignant. In this case, they will recommend follow-up steps. For
example, they may refer you to a skin cancer specialist for treatment.
What complications are
associated with a shave excision?
Some bleeding may occur after a shave excision. If this
happens, press on the wound firmly with a sterile bandage or dressing for 20 to
30 minutes. Contact your doctor if it bleeds for more than 30 minutes.
You can also expect some scarring to develop at the excision
site. You may be able to lighten the appearance of your scar by applying:
- topical silicone gel or silicone gel sheets
- petroleum-based ointments
- vitamin A cream or vitamin C cream
These products are available at many drug stores. If you
notice a hard, raised, or dome-shaped scar developing, call your doctor.
Infection is rare but can occur. Call your doctor if you
notice any of the following symptoms of infection:
- extreme tenderness
- swelling or increasing redness
- pus coming from the wound site
Sometimes tumors or growths come back after a shave
excision. Call your doctor if you suspect your growth is returning.