Disclaimer: Results, recovery, and risks vary by the individual.
The following information is meant as a guide only.
What is Excision and Punch Biopsy for Scar Removal?
Skin biopsies such as Excisions & Punch Biopsies are essential techniques in the management of skin diseases and can enhance the dermatologic care rendered by doctors.
Performed properly, these essential procedures in the management of skin disorders may confirm a diagnosis, remove unsightly lesions, and provide definitive treatment for a number of skin conditions.
- A Punch Biopsy is used in diagnostic skin biopsy or removal of moles, small skin lesions
- An Excision is reserved for the treatment of larger dented scars, small linear scars, and removal of sebaceous cysts. It is also suitable for the removal of large skin tumours or inflammatory disorders deep in the skin
When performed by trained medical professionals in a sterile environment, punch biopsies have a low incidence of infection, bleeding, non-healing, or significant scarring.
Excisions are relatively more invasive compared to punch biopsies, which means the risk of infection and other complications are higher. However, it remains to be a safe procedure when performed by a medical professional.
Repeated treatments may be needed for both Punch Biopsy & Excision when used for cosmetic reasons. Otherwise, a one-time procedure is usually required for diagnostic purposes.
After assessing your needs, the doctor can perform a Punch Biopsy in approximately an hour or so, and an Excision in under two hours or so, subject to the doctor’s schedule.
Upon completion of the recommended course, improvements are visible. Results vary by the individual and lifestyle choices.
Both procedures are performed under local anaesthesia. Pain is minimal. Some discomfort is common post-procedure and can last for a few days to weeks. This can be relieved with paracetamol. Pressure and ice are also applied after the procedure to reduce pain and bleeding.
The wound healing time can vary between a few days to a couple of weeks for larger areas or for those with multiple treatment sites. As with most procedures, bruising and bleeding can occur.
Punch Biopsy and Excision should preferably be done before a weekend or holiday for working patients.
Both procedures are safe for most healthy adults. As with all medical procedures, you should be sure to disclose all of your medical history and current habits such as smoking and use of blood-thinners, medications, birth control pills, or supplements.
Punch Biopsy and Excision are unsuitable in the following circumstances:
- A history of hypertrophic or keloid scars
- On existing or recent (within 12 months) systemic oral retinoid (e.g., acitretin, isotretinoin)
- Bleeding or blood clotting disorders (coagulopathy)
- Active bacterial or viral infection.
Pre-care: Ensure that you’re in a good state of health and not recovering from a bacterial or viral infection.
Post-care: The treatment area(s) should be kept clean to avoid infection. Depending on the size and location of the wound, dressing should be removed in 12 to 24 hours and thereafter cleaned with soap and water twice daily. Otherwise, you may be required to return daily for a change of dressing. In addition, avoid prolonged exposure of the treatment area to sunlight. Once healed, you’ll be advised to return to the clinic for suture removal, if applicable.