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What is a Shave Excision?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 09 November 2016
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Shave excisions are procedures that involve the removal of dermal and epidermal lesions. Often referred to as a dermal electrosurgical shave excision, the process involves a series of fine slicings along the surface of the dermal lesion to slowly pare down the lesion to a point level with the surrounding skin. A shave excision is a relatively simple procedure and also does not require a great deal of time to perform.

The basic procedure for performing a shave excision begins with slicing into the dermal lesions using a horizontal angle. This allows the body of the lesion to be sliced off in layers. A low voltage current is used to help feather the edges of the cuts as each slice is completed. The depth of the lesion will determine the length of the procedure. When performing a shave excision, the idea is to make sure to remove all the lesion cells, so the lesion will not return over time.

It should be noted that not all lesions can be addressed with the use of a shave excision. When there is discoloration in the surface of the lesion that lead a health professional to believe there is the presence of malignancy, other methods will be employed to run a biopsy before the excision can take place. If the results of the biopsy indicate there is some type of malignancy present, then a more aggressive surgical approach is likely to be necessary.

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While there is some chance for scarring with a shave excision, the end result is usually nothing more than some minor differences in pigmentation and hardly any scarring. The appearance is certainly preferable to the exposed lesion, which often is strikingly different from the surrounding skin. In rare cases, there may be the need for some cosmetic surgery to hide the results of the removal of a deep lesion.

In addition to being a relatively simple procedure that requires nothing more than a local anesthetic, a shave excision is also inexpensive. This means that just about anyone who has an unsightly lesion can be evaluated and receive the treatment.

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