Mole Biopsy

Mole biopsies are the best way for checking moles for skin cancer or other skin diseases. Talk to your primary care provider about getting a mole biopsy for any mole that suddenly appears, grows or changes color.

What are mole biopsies?

With a mole biopsy, some or all of the growth is removed.  The mole is then looked at by a pathologist under a microscope.

There are three types of mole biopsies:

  • Shave biopsy: A tool slices away at the raised mole and part of the surrounding skin.
  • Punch biopsy: A punch tool that looks like a cookie cutter is used. The punch goes around the mole and removes the mole and tissue beneath it.
  • Excisional biopsy: Excisional biopsies are done by cutting around the mole and into the fatty tissue beneath the skin.

Having a mole biopsy should not be painful, but may cause some discomfort. Patients receive numbing medication before the biopsy is done.