Yesterday I had 3 moles removed by shave biopsy - 2 on my back, one on my chest. Is there anything I can do to help minimise the scar? Do you generally find that a shave biopsy gives a good cosmetic outcome? If not - would fractional laser work? Thank you!
Doctor Answers 6
After a shave biopsy, it is important to keep the area clean and to emolliate it. It is also very important to keep the area out of the sun as it heals. If done well, a shave biopsy can result in a good cosmetic outcome.
Mole Removal and Good Cosmetic Result
Shave biopsy/removal of a mole is an excellent technique and when done correctly, can yield excellent cosmetic results. As the sites are healing, I would emolliate them with something bland and greasy like Aquaphor. I would also protect them from the sun if they are being exposed to the sun. If they start to look like they are going to thicken up, follow up with your doctor who can do intralesional cortisone injections. You may also want to try a silicone based scar gel with sunscreen.
Mole removal and decreasing scar.
Shave excisions remove the upper most layer of skin and the chance of scar is minimal. However, some people genetically make thicker scars or keloids. Moles removed from the mid chest and back to the neck have an increase risk of scarring due to location and constant movement. I like the use of petroleum jelly as the surface heals. The use of tegaderm patches applied for approximately 3 months as the area remodels is shown to be beneficial at reducing the appearance of scar.
Remember that it may take 6 months to a year for a wound to heal on the torso. I wouldn't recommend any aggressive treatments such as a laser to remove moles. Pigmented lesions should be biopsied, and lasers would only burn them possibly causing increase risk of scar.
I hope this helps!
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Minimizing scars after a shave biopsy
After a shave excision of a mole, I advise my patients to keep the area clean by gently washing twice daily with soap and water and then applying either plain petroleum jelly or Aquaphor Healing Ointment until the area has healed. Band aids are optional after the first day. Shave biopsies are actually a great way to remove moles, especially on the back and chest. With this method, the mole is actually "shaved off" at a very superficial level just below the surface of the skin. This method is quite effective to remove moles and leaves a minimal scar.
Thank you for your question. I would apply Neosporin, if not allergic too, or aquaphor to the area. In 2 weeks, you can start using Mederma or Scarguard to help minimize the scar. I would avoid sun exposure to the area and apply daily SPF 30 with zinc. I would recommend waiting for 6 weeks to heal completely and reassess the area for laser treatment. I hope this helps.