If you have a skin growth that you want removed, or if we suspect a growth may be cancerous, we may recommend a shave excision. Upon removal of the growth, if it is suspected to be cancerous it will be sent to a laboratory for testing. This can us determine it a growth is cancerous. This simple procedure is less invasive to perform than a full-thickness skin excision, where a full-thickness skin excision requires sutures (stitches). As a result, a shave excision typically produces a less noticeable scar.
To perform a shave excision, we will start by injecting the area under the growth with a local anesthetic. In addition to preventing pain, the anesthetic will cause the growth to rise upward, making it easier to remove. Next, the growth may be removed by making multiple horizontal cuts with a sharp razor. You may feel a pinching sensation as the cuts are made, but you shouldn’t feel pain. We may perform what’s known as electrosurgical feathering to shape the edges of the wound. This helps with removing cells from the growth that have been left behind in the hopes of minimizing any scarring. We may also apply a chemical agent known as aluminum chloride hexahydrate to your skin to stop the bleeding. Finally, we will apply a soothing antibiotic ointment as well as cover the wound with a sterile bandage. This will help lower your risk of infection.
You may feel some discomfort or a burning sensation where the growth was removed. While you wait for the results, we encourage you to keep the excision site dry for 24 hours. We will also guide you on how and when to change the dressing. The excision site may be red for a few weeks, but will gradually get lighter. After a few weeks, if you notice excessive scarring or signs of infection, please call us.