Dysplastic Nevus–Moderate or Mild to Moderate Atypia

Your skin biopsy showed an abnormal mole.  It isn’t a melanoma, but it isn’t totally normal, either.  It needs to be fully removed to be sure there isn’t anything that looks worse under the microscope at the edges.  This type of mole can be removed by either an excision or a shave removal.


In an excision, the area around the abnormal mole is numbed like in a skin biopsy with an injection of local anesthesia.

Then, a margin of normal-appearing skin around the area is cut out and the wound is closed with stitches.   The size of the margin depends on how abnormal the cells are, generally about 2 millimeters around the site for these lesions.

In all cases, the tissue removed will be sent to the pathology lab and analyzed to make sure the margins are clear and the spot has been removed.

There is generally little to no wound care required at home.  Stitches usually stay in between 10-14 days on the trunk and extremities, depending on the site of the surgery.

Activity like vigorous exercise, tennis, or golf may be limited during that time until stitches come out.  In addition, there can be no underwater submersion until the stitches have been removed.  This means no swimming or baths until then.  Showering after the pressure bandage has been removed, 48 hours after surgery, is fine.

The risks of the procedure are small, but include bleeding, low risk of infection, further required surgery, cancer recurrence, and a scar.

Shave Removal

In this process, the area with the abnormal mole is anesthetized with local anesthesia and the mole is shaved off a little deeper than with the biopsy and with a small margin of about 2 millimeters around the visible mole. The area is left to heal on its own, which takes about three to four weeks (but sometimes longer, depending on the body site and other patient factors).

For any of the surgical procedures, click here for Preoperative Concerns and Protocols for more information.