Surgical mole removal is an effective medical dermatological procedure for improving cosmetic appearance and dealing with suspicions of skin cancer. Call us to schedule an evaluation today.
Moles are pigmented skin growths, also called nevi, that can appear anywhere on the body singly or in groups. Almost all adults have at least a few and some may have up to 40. Normally appearing as a dark brown spot, a mole may also be blue, black, pink or flesh-colored or may be raised and highly visible. Some may change over time or even gradually disappear. Whatever their color or shape, most moles are harmless and cause no symptoms other than discomfort when they rub against something.
Skin tags are harmless, soft pieces of skin that stick out on a thin stem. Often appearing on the neck, armpits, body folds and upper trunk, the cause of skin tags is unknown.
Can I Remove a Mole at Home?
You should not try to shave off a mole at home for several reasons:
- a doctor should always check the mole for signs of cancer; if you remove it at home and it is cancerous, some of the cancer cells may stay in the skin or spread
- you could cause an infection
- you could scar or disfigure your skin
When Should I Have a Mole Checked?
Your dermatologist may become concerned if one of your moles has changed shape or color, as this may be an indicator of skin cancer. Most moles are less than a ¼-inch in size, so any mole that is larger should be checked by your doctor. Identifying and treating skin cancers early helps avoid spreading of the cancerous cells to other parts of the body. Uncommon moles, also called dysplastic nevi, may:
- be larger than a pencil eraser
- have an unusual shape – not round
- have more than one color, such as mixes of brown, red, pink and tan
New moles may also be a source of concern, as most facial moles are present at birth. While some moles may appear later in life, any new moles appearing after age 50 should be looked at by a dermatologist. Mole color may also be affected by sun exposure, pregnancy and certain steroid drug therapies.
What Is the Treatment Process?
If your dermatologist is concerned about the appearance of a mole, the mole will be excised and sent to a lab to be checked for cancer. Moles may also be removed for cosmetic reasons.
How Is a Mole Removed?
Depending on the size, location and shape, moles may be removed in a number of ways.
With smaller nevi, the growth is cut or ‘shaved’ off flush with the skin with a scalpel or surgical scissors,while larger moles may require cutting out and stitching of wound edges. Very large nevi may call for gradual removal, in which case your physician will remove a little more at each appointment until the entire growth is removed. This is a more serious procedure, calling for a skin graft from another part of the body.
A mole may also be removed with liquid nitrogen. The doctor sprays a small amount of ultra-cold liquid nitrogen on a mole or skin tag, causing a small blister to form. When it heals, the mole will be gone.
Moles or skin tags may be burned off using an electric current passing through a hot wire. The area is first numbed with an anesthetic and the heat itself helps prevent any bleeding. Freezing and burning do not normally leave scars or marks.
How Long Will the Treatment Take?
Unless it is very large, a single mole can usually be removed during an office visit. Several moles or a very large mole may require additional visits.
What Should I Expect Afterwards?
Normally, once a mole is removed it will not return. If, however, the mole grows back immediately, make a return appointment with your dermatologist, as this could be a sign of melanoma.