Local excision is where the abnormal mole or area of skin (and a small amount of normal skin around the area) will be removed (‘excised’) and sent to a laboratory for testing. The excision is a relatively simple operation performed under local anaesthetic by a dermatologist or plastic surgeon. A pathologist will look at this tissue under a microscope and make a diagnosis. The analysis of the biopsy typically takes two weeks and therefore there will be a short wait after the biopsy before the diagnosis is known.
Like all surgery, excision of melanoma carries risks, including poor scarring/cosmetic appearance, wound infection, scar opening up, bleeding and numbness. As this is usually a small procedure, these risks are often minimal.
More information on local excision can be found here.