What is a mole?

Small dark marks on the skin caused by cells in the skin that produce pigment (colour). They are usually brownish, although some may be darker or skin-coloured. Moles can be flat or raised, smooth or rough, and some have hair growing from them. Moles are usually circular or oval in shape with a smooth edge.

Diagnostic excision

A lesion and a small amount of normal looking skin around it is removed. Stitches are used. You will typically have a straight-line scar that is usually 3 to 4 times the length of the lesion being removed.


The lesion is scraped off. A graze like area remains which scabs up and takes 1 to 2 weeks to heal (6 weeks on the lower legs). Stitches are not used. A pale patch resembling the outline of the lesion usually remains.

Shave biopsy

During the biopsy, the surface of a lesion is shaved off. The roots of the lesion are not removed. The skin will heal from underneath always. Stitches are not used in this procedure. You will have a pale circular scar which is usually flat and the same outline as the base of the lesion that has been removed.

Incisional biopsy

A small eye-shaped piece of skin is removed. Stitches are used to close the area and you will have a small scar. The typical scar is a straight line that is around 1 to 5 millimetres depending on the size of the biopsy that is needed.

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