UMass Chan Medical School Faculty Publications


To scoop or not to scoop: the diagnostic and therapeutic utility of the scoop-shave biopsy for pigmented lesions

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Division of Dermatology

Publication Date


Document Type



Biopsy; Humans; Melanoma; Nevus, Pigmented; Prospective Studies; Skin Neoplasms


Dermatology | Neoplasms | Skin and Connective Tissue Diseases | Surgical Procedures, Operative | Therapeutics


BACKGROUND: Concern over transection of melanomas has inhibited many practitioners from using the scoop-shave for removal of pigmented lesions.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the safety and efficacy of the scoop-shave for pigmented lesions.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The practitioner's clinical diagnosis, intent (sample or completely remove), and removal technique (excision, punch, shave biopsy, or scoop-shave) were recorded. Pathology results including the status of the peripheral and deep margins were subsequently documented. RESULTS: Over an 8-month period, 333 procedures were performed. Of the 11 melanomas (6 in situ and 5 invasive) removed by the scoop-shave, none had positive deep margins and 6 (2 in situ and 4 invasive) were completely removed. One of the 50 dysplastic nevi removed by scoop-shave had a positive deep margin (moderately dysplastic). Forty-six dysplastic nevi were completely removed by the scoop-shave. When the practitioner's intent was "complete removal," the lesion was completely removed 73.1% of the time by scoop-shave, 91% by standard excision, 18.1% by shave biopsy, and 78.6% by punch excision (p < .0001).

CONCLUSION: The scoop-shave is a safe and effective technique for diagnosis and treatment of melanocytic lesions.

DOI of Published Version



Dermatol Surg. 2014 Oct;40(10):1077-83. doi: 10.1097/01.DSS.0000452659.60130.68. Link to article on publisher's site

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Dermatologic surgery : official publication for American Society for Dermatologic Surgery [et al.]

PubMed ID