View Full Version : Do you know to never have a shave biopsy with melanoma?

04-26-2005, 01:26 PM
Once you have melanoma you should never allow a doctor to do a shave biopsy because the shave can obscure or destroy the thickness information. It can mess up the staging with melanoma. You should always request a punch biopsy. Most doctors will automatically do a shave unless you speak up. It's your body.

You all may already know this but thought I'd share.


04-26-2005, 08:03 PM
This is really good advice, Cindy. Some doctors aren't experienced with moles and really don't know one type from the other and you're right, it would do more harm than good to have it shaved rather than biopsied or excised.

04-27-2005, 07:01 AM
What exactly is punch biopsy? My doctor wants to remove two moles. One on my stomach which he wants to remove entirely and one on my arm he wants to do a shave biopsy.

04-27-2005, 07:11 AM
Skin Biopsy
(Skin lesion biopsy, Shave biopsy, Punch biopsy, Excision biopsy)
Removal of a small portion of abnormal skin to be tested in a laboratory. There are three main types of skin biopsies:

Shave biopsy - the outer part of the suspect area is removed
Punch biopsy - a small cylinder of skin is removed using a punch tool
Excision biopsy - the entire area of abnormal growth is removed

Hope this helps.


04-27-2005, 11:26 AM
Thanks. Why do they do shave biopsies if they don't give accurate results? Is there any circumstances where a shave biopsy should be done?

04-27-2005, 12:51 PM
My guess is that it is easier and faster for the doctor to do. A lot of people don't know not to have shave biopsies so they are done often. I beleive with a punch biopsy a stitch or 2 is usually used and that takes up more time. I don't know the true answer to this question.

I can ask around and see what answers I come up with.


04-27-2005, 02:13 PM
Thanks Cindy. I'm glad I saw this before my appointment.

04-27-2005, 02:31 PM
I'm a health researcher, and there are an awful lot of people who are trying
like mad to figure out how to improve ourhealthcare system - from mistakes
to best practices, to global medicine.

Can anyone tell me, if shave biopsies are not appropriate, why a doctor
would do them in the first place? There is a hippocratic oath.

I think this posting is a really good example of how things have changed. It
used to be we could trust our doctor to know what was best for us.
Scarey, because when you are sick, really sick, you just don't have the
energy to keep on top of everything.

04-27-2005, 02:39 PM
I copied this from another board I read:

Now as to why derms do shaves, most moles aren't melanoma. Shave biopsies heal well and don't require stitches - hence no followup appointment for stitch removal. And shaves have easier setups than doing a biopsy with stitches. Derms do it all the time, but that doesn't mean it is in the best interest of their patient's

Are we allowed to privide links here? If so, I have a great website I can point you guys to that will answer a lot of your question.

05-01-2005, 09:04 AM
If you have a shave biopsy and it DOES indeed prove to be Malignant Melanoma, then they cannot get an accurate reading for what stage with the way the shave removes the leision. If it is def not a melanoma and it appears on a area that is seen (ie face) you know what I mean, it is a better way to remove it. If it is suspect then only a punch or a excisional biopsy can give a correct platform for stageing your disease.

You cannot get a correct staging and that is dependent on what kind (if any) further treatment you may or may not require.

Stage 2B Clarks level 3 MM