How is Shave biopsy undertaken?

  • Shave biopsy is performed under local anaesthetic. This numbs the area we will be operating on.  This means that you will be awake during the procedure. ​ 
  • You can eat and drink as normal 
  • Local anaesthetic injections cause a stinging discomfort which will last for a few seconds. ​ 
  • The local anaesthetic removes pain sensation but you might be aware of touch and pulling sensations. ​ 
  • The numbness from the anaesthetic will normally last for a couple of hours.  The time you will be in the department depends on the type of procedure being undertaken however most procedures take between 15 and 45 minutes. 

After the local anaesthetic has been injected, the lesion will be removed by shaving the lesion to leave a flat wound.  The procedure produces a deep graze wound which usually will heal in 2-6 weeks depending on the body site. 

Will there be a scar? 

  • All skin surgery will leave some form of scar.​ 
  • Initially, this could resemble a superficial burn or deep graze but eventually leaves a flat white scar, although the type of scar often depends on the procedure, your racial background and the body site. ​ 
  • Sometimes in areas, especially on the upper back, shoulders and chest, scars may become raised, thickened and sore or itchy.  These are known as hypertrophic or keloid scars. ​ 

Will there be any pain? 

This often depends on the operation site but after most procedures there is little pain.  Large wounds or those in areas subject to pressure (i.e. the foot) or where there is a lot of movement (i.e. the shoulder) can be more uncomfortable.  Most pain is controlled by simple analgesia (pain relief). 

Will I be able to drive? 

  • You will have a pressure dressing in place for 24 hours after your surgery. ​ 
  • If your procedure is on the face this may interfere with your vision or if your operations is on the leg might interfere with your ability to drive. ​ 
  • Operations around the eye and upper cheek can cause swelling of the eye which can also affect your vision.  In these circumstances you are strongly advised not to drive. ​ 

After effects of surgery

  • All skin surgery inevitably cuts small nerve fibres and this can result in numbness or pins and needles around the operation site.  This change in sensation can last for a few weeks or occasionally months. 
  • Often wounds on the lower legs can take some time to heal especially in older people or people with poor circulation 
  • Wound infections are an uncommon but recognised risk of skin surgery.  Wound infections should be treated as soon as possible with antibiotics.  Heat, pain, redness and swelling around the site 4-5 days after surgery could be a sign of wound infection. ​ 
  • Please contact your GP if you are concerned that you could have a wound infection. 
  • There can be some bleeding after surgery although this is normally minor.​ 


Please bring a copy of your most recent prescription when attending your operation. 

Your medication should have been discussed with you at consultation.  If you are taking Aspirin, Clopidogrel, Dipyridamole, Warfarin, Rivaroxaban, Dabigatran or Apixaban these can increase your risk of bleeding after surgery however, unless instructed otherwise by your doctor you should continue to take your medication.  You should also make your doctor aware if you take Propranolol, this is a drug known as a beta-blocker which can be used for high blood pressure, anxiety or tremors. 

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