by Editorial Staff And Contributors
This is the removal of an abnormal growth on the skin, called a lesion, for medical or cosmetic reasons. Skin lesions can include warts, moles, cancers, and skin tags.
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Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:
Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
Generally, no special preparation is required.
Local anesthesia will be used. It will make the area numb.
The area will be cleaned. The skin surrounding the lesion will be numbed by anesthesia. Techniques for skin lesion removal vary depending on the reason for removal and lesion location. Common techniques include:
After the lesion is removed, stitches may be used to close the hole left in the skin. A bandage will be placed over the area.
This depends on which procedure is used. Most are completed within 20 minutes.
Anesthesia prevents pain during the procedure. You may have some discomfort at the surgery site after the procedure.
When you get home:
Stitches will be left in the skin for 3-14 days, depending on where they are located.
It is important to monitor your recovery. Alert your doctor to any problems. If any of the following occur, call your doctor:
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
American Academy of Dermatology
Skin Cancer Foundation
Canadian Cancer Society
Canadian Dermatology Association
Diagnostic tests for skin disorders. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed September 5, 2019.
Melanoma. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/melanoma. Accessed September 5, 2019.
Pickett H. Shave and punch biopsy for skin lesions. Am Fam Physician. 2011;84(9):995-1002.
6/2/2011 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance https://www.dynamed.com/management/treatment-for-tobacco-use-19: Mills E, Eyawo O, Lockhart I, Kelly S, Wu P, Ebbert JO. Smoking cessation reduces postoperative complications: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Med. 2011;124(2):144-154.
Last reviewed September 2019 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Donald W. Buck II, MD
Last Updated: 10/13/2020