Dr Chris Miller
Dr Chris Miller
Accredited skin cancer doctor
Shave biopsy and excision
Shave biopsy or excision is a minor procedure where a thin sliver of skin is shaved horizontally. It can be used to diagnose an unknown or suspicious lesion, or to completely remove a raised mole or other benign lesion.

Also known as

Shave biopsy and excision
 is also known as:
Saucerisation, shave biopsy of skin lesion

Conditions treated

Shave biopsy and excision
is used in the treatment of:

How it’s performed

The doctor injects local anaesthetic into the skin to make it numb. They then use a razor-like blade to shave off a thin layer of skin from the top. This sliver of skin is removed, leaving a small patch of "raw" skin behind. The doctor applies pressure (or may use cautery or topical aluminium chloride) to the area to minimise bleeding, and then places a dressing over the wound.

Preparing for


Shave biopsy and excision

No specific preparation is required.

Side effects and complications

Serious side effects are rare. Bleeding following the procedure is common. Overgrown scarring can occur after this procedure.


Shave biopsy is performed as a test to establish the diagnosis of a suspicious or unknown skin lesion, often to find out whether it is a cancer and if so, how deep it goes. the main follow-up is to discuss the pathology results and decide what further treatment is required. Shave excision is performed to remove an unwanted raised skin lesion. Follow-up may include measures to enhance wound healing and minimise scarring such as low level light therapy, topical silicone gel and wound massage.



There is a risk of bleeding following this procedure. If the doctor has wrapped the wound with a crepe bandage, it must be left in place until the next day to minimise bleeding risk. The wound will heal gradually from the bottom. This may take several weeks. There is risk of scarring following this procedure. Application of tape or silicone gel, wound massage and low level light therapy may help reduce this risk.


It's safe to undergo this procedure while you are pregnant.


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28 Aug
Last updated:
30 Jan