Last updated date: 02-Jun-2023
Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Anas Walid Shehada
Originally Written in English
Moles are unsightly dark patches on your skin that you wish would go away so you could have a smooth, blemish-free complexion. Moles, in the worst-case situation, can be malignant and pose major health hazards if not removed. Before you have a mole removed, there are a few things you should think about.
What is a Mole?
A common mole, also known as a melanocytic naevi, is a pigmented patch on the skin that forms when pigment cells called melanocytes cluster together. Although common moles are present at birth, they normally arise later in infancy and proliferate during adolescence - most individuals have between 10 and 40 on their bodies. Moles commonly darken during pregnancy and can disappear completely by the age of 50.
These cells are normally spaced out on your skin, but if they acquire specific mutations in their DNA, "either randomly, or during the various stages of human development, or due to UV light damage, they can grow in groups or clusters," they can grow in groups or clusters.
What are the Different Types of Moles?
There are also several varieties of moles. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), common or benign moles are normally innocuous, which means they seldom develop into melanoma (a dangerous mole). These common moles, which can appear anywhere on the body, are pink, tan, or brown and have a uniform color throughout. Most common moles are symmetrical and have sharp borders. They are small in size, usually less than six millimeters, and do not change much over time.
An atypical mole, also known as a dysplastic nevus, differs from a common mole in appearance. A dysplastic nevus can be larger than a conventional mole and have a distinct color and form, sometimes with a "pebbly" surface or uneven edges. A dysplastic nevus is more likely to develop into melanoma, while this is still uncommon. It is more important, however, to keep an eye on a dysplastic nevus and ensure that it does not change color, shape, or size in any way in case it develops into melanoma.
Finally, a melanoma is a malignant mole—the it's most serious sort of skin cancer since it may spread to other regions of the body. Melanoma is a kind of skin cancer that starts in melanocytes and might appear as a normal mole, a dysplastic nevus, or a patch of skin that was completely clean before to the development. Melanoma commonly appears on the head, neck, or back of men, whereas it appears on the back or lower thighs of women. Melanoma is less common in those with dark skin, but it can form under fingernails or toenails, on the palms of the hands, or on the soles of the feet.
How Can a Mole be Diagnosed?
There are various ways a mole can be diagnosed:
1. Dermascope Spot Check
A dermascope, which enlarges the view of the mole so that a doctor can examine its features in detail, can be used to examine a mole in great detail.
2. Full Body Mole Map
A whole-body mole map entails photographing your body in order to precisely document the locations and characteristics of moles. In later years, changes in your moles may be quickly identified by comparing them to past mole maps.
3. Skin Cancer Check
A dermatologist or skin specialist can examine every inch of your skin for symptoms of skin cancer, including moles and other lesions. During the procedure, any worrisome moles will be documented for further examination.
What is Mole Removal?
Mole removal, as opposed to mole biopsy, is intended to entirely eliminate moles from the skin while minimizing scarring and creating a smooth, unobtrusive finish. Moles are brown or black skin growths formed by the clustering of melanocytes, which are skin pigment cells. They might be elevated or flat, and they can appear anywhere on the body.
We can safely and successfully eradicate moles from any place by employing a number of strategies. Because of local anesthesia, this procedure is relatively painless for nearly all of our patients, and your recuperation takes no downtime. Best of all, when performed by a professional and experienced doctor, removing a mole offers a permanent answer to this frequent aesthetic issue.
While you should continue to see your dermatologist on a regular basis to maintain your skin healthy and check on any leftover moles, the growths targeted during this quick and uncomplicated procedure should not recur, leaving your skin looking better than ever and providing you a huge boost in confidence.
Benefits of Mole Removal
While aesthetics are one of the primary advantages of mole removal, our primary focus is always your long-term health. Moles can become cancer, and if this disease is not treated promptly, the malignant cells might migrate to other regions of the body. In one simple procedure, mole removal can both prevent the spread of cancerous and pre-cancerous cells and address your cosmetic concerns.
The majority of our patients have lasting results, and they are able to live life to the fullest after having a prominent or worrisome mole removed. This procedure may be conducted on any patient, skin type, or skin tone, and while people with lighter skin may be more prone to moles, everyone should take care of their skin with frequent check-ups.
When you choose to seek treatment at our clinic, our team is dedicated to your health and wellness and will advise you on the best treatment options for your specific situation.
How are Moles Typically Removed?
There are several ways for removing moles, all of which may be done on the same day as your appointment to the dermatologist or healthcare practitioner. In certain situations, you may be asked to return to remove any remaining cells, especially if the mole is big or the biopsy results show that the surrounding tissue is suspicious.
Before each procedure, the skin is cleaned with an antiseptic and an anesthetic is injected to ensure that you feel no or minimal pain. Following that, the dermatologist will perform one of the following procedures:
- Punch Biopsy
A punch biopsy is best utilized for deeper lesions that have a major component in the dermis, the second layer of skin, or even deeper into fat.
A punch instrument, similar to a cookie cutter with a circular blade, will be used by the dermatologist to extract a cylinder of tissue measuring 1 to 8 millimeters in diameter. The deep, spherical hole is then stitched shut, and the mole tissue is transported to a pathology lab to be checked for malignancy. The sutures will either dissolve or be removed by the dermatologist after a few weeks.
- Shave Biopsy
A razor blade is used to remove the mole and a tiny bit of surrounding tissue during a shave biopsy. This approach is ideal for shallower lesions that are likely just in the epidermis and perhaps a tiny amount of the superficial dermis.
After the bleeding has stopped, the dermatologist will bandage the little wound, which will heal over a few weeks and create a flat or slightly indented scar.
Cryotherapy use intense cold, often liquid nitrogen, to eradicate specific skin lesions and, in effect, freeze off a mole. The cells within the lesion are entirely killed and either form a scab and fall off or are eliminated by the body's immune system.
Cryotherapy is most commonly used to freeze warts, skin tags, benign moles, blood spots, solar keratosis, and sun spots. The procedures are quick, nearly painless, and extremely successful. Depending on the size and depth of the lesion, more than one treatment may be necessary to obtain the desired effect.
- Laser removal
If your mole is tiny, brown, and flat, laser energy can quickly eradicate it by breaking down the pigment in the mole. Typically, one session is sufficient. If there is any residual pigmentation after 1 month, another session(s) may be necessary. The laser can be performed in a few minutes after numbing with numb cream or an injection, and most patients are surprised to see their mole completely disappear in such a short time.
After 1-2 weeks, a scab will form and break off, leaving a pink brown patch that will fade with time. A minor chickenpox scar may appear on occasion, although these normally fade within a few months. Moles removed by laser may reappear after a period of time ranging from months to years.
- Surgical Excision
A dermatologist will use a scalpel to remove a small ellipse of mole and skin tissue from larger or deeper moles. The incision is stitched up, leaving a long line scar. The sutures will either dissolve or be removed by the dermatologist after a few weeks.
After Mole Removal
You should be able to leave the hospital shortly following your surgery. If you have discomfort after your mole removal, you can use over-the-counter pain relievers like Paracetamol. Your consultant or general practitioner will inform you of the results of the analysis.
Your surgeon may ask you to return a few days after mole removal to examine the site and replace the dressing. If the incision turns red, bloated, or bleeding, call your surgeon or the Outpatient Department for assistance.
Unless your job puts a pressure on the area stitched, you should be able to return to work the next day. Make an appointment with your surgeon to discuss your return to work.
You will need to see the Outpatient Department or a practice nurse to have your sutures removed, depending on the region sewn. Although it is unlikely for this operation to limit everyday activities, any surgical procedure might result in complications:
- Infection of the surgical site (wound)
- Wound breakdown (skin fails to heal)
Specific complications in mole removal
- The mole may come back
- A larger operation may be needed
Why not print this treatment page so you can discuss any concerns you have with your surgeon?
How Can I Tell If a Mole Might Be Cancerous?
In dermatology, we advise our patients to use the "ABCDE" model to identify potentially malignant moles. It's critical to check your skin on a frequent basis for moles that meet one or more of these categories, and to keep track of any moles that change over time.
Examine your mole. You should notify your dermatologist if one portion of the mole differs in form, color, or appearance from the remainder of the mole.
The majority of typical moles have a distinct, consistently formed border. If your mole has an uneven border or shape, or if it is not clearly demarcated from the rest of your skin, consult your doctor.
Your mole should not have multiple colors or shades of the same color. This could be an indication that something is wrong, and your doctor should look into it at your next appointment.
Concerning moles often develop to a size of 6mm or greater. If you find a bigger mole, notify your doctor. A smaller mole that displays some of the other signs of a malignant mole should be evaluated as well.
Your doctor should examine any mole that changes over time. Color, shape, and size changes could indicate that the cells are pre-cancerous or cancerous, in which case your mole should be biopsied and removed as soon as possible.
What is the Difference Between a Biopsy and a Removal?
A mole biopsy includes one of our experts delicately shaving the surface of the mole and the surrounding skin with a sharp scalpel to get a tiny sample of the mole's cells. This operation takes only a few minutes and is conducted in our clinic under local anesthesia. The resulting sample is examined to see if the cells are normal or show signs of cancer.
Removal can be done for either cosmetic or medicinal reasons, or a mix of the two. the doctor works meticulously to remove all of the mole's cells. If cells from a mole are left over after treatment, it might regenerate or, more potentially, malignant cells from a mole can spread to other places. You'll return to our office for post-removal check-ups so our doctors can monitor your progress, and we always recommend that our patients have at least one general appointment per year to keep their skin healthy and their moles under control.
Are there any Risks Associated with Mole Removal?
All three mole removal methods, according to the dermatologists Health contacted, would leave you with a scar in lieu of the mole. Infection and post-procedural hemorrhage are other possibilities. Bruising can occur if your skin is extremely sensitive, although it is unusual.
If the mole isn't completely removed, it might regenerate within the scar, causing a lump or discolouration. If the pathology findings show an anomaly, this can be left alone or removed.
Finally, there is the possibility that the procedure will be deemed cosmetic, in which case your health insurance will not cover the costs. So, before having a mole removed, check with your insurance company or the clinic to learn about the potential costs.
FAQs About Mole Removal
1. How Much Does Mole Removal Cost?
The cost of mole removal will vary depending on which method is used and how involved it is.
2. Can Moles Grow Back After Removal?
It is possible for moles to regrow if part of the mole's cells remain after removal, although this is unusual. Ask your skin doctor about surgical mole removal procedures if you don't want your mole to grow back.
3. On Which Parts of the Body Do Moles Form?
Moles may occur anywhere on the body, including between your fingers and toes, on your cheeks, under your armpits, and even under your nails.
4. Is It Safe to Remove Moles at Home?
No, attempting to remove moles at home is not a good idea. This can lead to bleeding and infection. If you have concerns about moles or want them removed, always consult your doctor or a skin cancer center.
5. Do Mole Removal Creams Work?
Mole removal creams are extremely dangerous because any at-home treatment avoids the need to see a doctor or other skin specialist. Attempting to remove a skin lesion that is a melanoma is extremely risky because you won't know what kind of mole you're dealing with.
There are several methods for removing moles, including shave biopsy, punch biopsy, and surgical excision, none of which can be done at home. Moles can be removed for a variety of reasons, ranging from aesthetic to malignant. If you find new growth on your skin and are worried, consult your healthcare practitioner or a dermatologist to have it evaluated and, if required, removed.
Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Anas Walid Shehada