Excision biopsy (having a mole removed)

If you have symptoms of melanoma, your mole will need to be removed so the specialist doctor can find out what it is.

If you have an abnormal mole, and your specialist thinks you may have melanoma, they will advise you to have the whole mole removed. This is so the specialist doctor can find out what it is. This is called an excision biopsy. You will have a small scar afterwards.

Before the mole is removed, your doctor will explain what they are going to do. They will ask you to sign a form saying that you give your permission (consent) for the mole to be removed.

You usually lie down to have the mole removed. The doctor or a specialist nurse injects a local anaesthetic into the area around the mole. This numbs the area so you do not feel any pain. They then cut out the whole mole and 2mm of normal skin around it.

They close the wound using stitches. These can be removed after 5 to 14 days, depending on where the mole was. You may have stitches that dissolve. This means the stitches do not need to be removed.

A doctor who specialises in studying cells (pathologist) then looks at the mole under a microscope. This is to see if there are any cancer cells.