What Should I Do if I Go in for a Shave Biopsy and the Mole is Not Completely Removed by a Dermatologist?

Had a suspicious skin growth partially removed (shave biopsy) on Thursday, took the bandage off on Friday and I find out that part of the growth was left on the skin. The dermatologist said I would have to go back for further procedure regardless of whether or not it was cancerous ie excision if cancerous or "freezing it off" if it was benign. I have been rolling this around in my head but cannot figure out why they wouldn't just shave the whole thing off? Thanks.

Doctor Answers 2

Why should a mole not be completely removed by a shave biopsy

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I agree with your assessment. Unless a growth is particularly large, I will almost always do a "biopsy" by shaving off the entire growth. That way, if it is benign, the patient will not have to return for another procedure. Over the years I have had many patients transfer their care to my practice for just that reason!

South Burlington Dermatologic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Shave biopsy did not completely remove mole

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When a shave biopsy is done, the point is to figure out what it is, and then determine the next steps. Remember, it's a biopsy. So, the entire thing isn't always removed because we always like to preserve as much healthy or potentially healthy skin as possible. Once the lab confirms the diagnosis, a proper next procedure can be determined - further excision, currette, liquid nitrogen, etc.

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