A sharp, thin blade is used to shave off the abnormal growth. To stop the biopsied site from bleeding, the physician applies an ointment or cauterizes the wound with a small electric current. Physicians use shave biopsies to diagnose a multitude of skin diseases and for sampling moles. Physicians generally do not perform shave biopsies if there is a strong suspicion of melanoma. If the blade cannot cut deep enough to get under the area of concern, it may not be thick enough to assess the extent of the melanoma.