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HealthInfo West Coast-Te Tai Poutini

Removal (excision) or biopsy of a skin lesion

A skin biopsy is when a doctor removes only a small part of a skin lesion for testing. A lesion is an area of damaged skin, like a mole, freckle, or spot. Excision is when the whole lesion is removed. In both cases, the skin is sent to the laboratory, where a specialist examines it under a microscope to find out if it is cancerous or not.

Many GPs are specially trained to remove skin lesions, so often your own doctor may be able to treat you. The cost of biopsy and excision varies between doctors, and the type and size of the lesion. You may be eligible for a subsidy to reduce the cost of the procedure. Talk to your GP about this.

If your doctor is not trained in removing skin lesions, or thinks your lesion is more complicated, they can refer you to another doctor who specialises in this procedure. This could be a general practitioner who does skin excision surgery. Or it could be to a plastic surgeon or general surgeon at Grey Base Hospital.

Alternatively, you may wish to pay to see a GP with special interest in skin surgery, private plastic surgeon, or a private dermatologist. Find a private dermatologist in Christchurch, Nelson, or Dunedin.

  HealthInfo recommends the following pages

On the next page: Plastic Surgery at Grey Base Hospital

Information provided by the Canterbury DHB. Adapted by the West Coast DHB. Last reviewed December 2016.

See also:

Risks and complications of skin surgery

In this section

Plastic surgery at Grey Base Hospital

Discharge & wound care advice after your skin surgery

Discharge advice after a local anaesthetic procedure

Risks & complications of skin surgery

Page reference: 225847

Review key: HIEXS-87512