Post Shaven Mole Biosopy: Healing Edges of the Site Are Brown - Should I be Concerned?

Recent shave mole biosopy.. with the healing the edges of the site are brown? not the middele, and the pathology test came back saying it was a atypical benign mole. Should I be concerned?

Doctor Answers 5

Removal of Atypical Moles

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In my office, I will do an excision with suture closure to get clear margins for all moles that have "moderate to severe atypia". For a mildly atypical mole I will observe the area and if any pigmentation remains or recurs in the biopsy site it is excised. Since you may still have some pigment-making cells still present around the previous biopsy site you should have the area re-examined by your dermatologist and consider having the area excised. We also follow all of our "atypical mole" patients by doing full skin examinations every six months.

South Burlington Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Shave excision of moles

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Shave excision or shaving off a mole is less likely to remove a mole completely compared to a formal surgical excision, as with shave excision the tissue deep within the thickness of skin is not removed. This is the part that quite often will contain the pigment cells. This is likely to be reason you have brown edges to the scar. As long as the histopathology showed the mole to be benign (that is no sign of any cancer) I would not worry.

Anindya Lahiri, FRCS (Plast)
Birmingham Plastic Surgeon

Shaved moles often leave undesireable scars on the face.

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Shaved moles often leave undesireable scars on the face.  I would recommend a careful reexcision of the moles with sutures.  Ultimately you will get a much better cosmetic result.

Mark Taylor, MD
Salt Lake City Dermatologic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

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What to do about an atypical benign mole remaining after shave biopsy

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Moles, particularly ones found to be suspicious need to be excised with approximately 2 mm margin and submitted to a drmatopathologist for an examination. The determination of whether a mole is benign or not is made by looking at all the areas of the mole including the outside edges and the deep portion. Shaving a mole off the surface of the skin is not adequate for either removal or examination. If the deeper or lateral components of the mole were not removed, it may recur. If there are positive margins (meaning there is some mole remaining) and the mole has been diagnosed as moderately or severely atypical, I recommend reexcision of the area to assure clear margins. If the mole is mildly atypical, I recommend watching for a recurrence then reexcising if it does. We don't know yet what amount of risk do atypical or dysplatic moles carry in terms of becoming a melanoma. That remains to be determined. We do know that removing every single mole a person has is unnecessary and does not decrease the risk of a person developing a melanoma by very much. Melanomas start on normal skin more often that in a mole. So the moles that need toe removed are the ones that are suspicious for melanoma. We look for ABCDE (asymmetry, border irregularity, color irregularity, diameter greater than eraser of a pencil although many melanomas found early may be smaller than that, and evolution or any change in a mole). Since this mole is recurring I would recommend reexcising it with conservative margins just to make sure it is completely removed.

Emily Altman, MD
Short Hills Dermatologic Surgeon

Ensure Adequate Margins

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Hello, when a biopsy is performed pathology can inform the doctor of the type of lesion and give information regarding the margins (whether a rim of adequate normal tissue was removed around the lesion).  Different lesions need different amounts of margin to help ensure their removal.  Cancerous lesions need the most, while lesions with atypia require adequate margins but usually need less.  If your biopsy site has dark edges, it may be part of the healing process, but could be residual mole at the skin edges.  If the pathology showed some atypia I would recommend showing this to your doctor and to ensure you do not need additional margins taken via a re-excision. Leaving residual cells from this mole can increase your risk for recurrence or progression of the atypia to a more serious lesion.    

Timothy J. Germain, MD
McLean Plastic Surgeon

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.