If you are like most people, you probably have moles that you would like to get rid of, but you’re not sure what your options are. Chances are you may have wondered – Are there different types of procedures for removing moles, and which one is right for me? This article takes a look at the choices available to you.
What are Moles?
Moles are dark spots on the skin that develop as a result of pigmented cells that group together on various parts of the body. They vary in size and colour and can show up anywhere on the body.
Why Remove Your Mole
Just about everyone has moles lurking somewhere on their body, even if they are hidden from view. Some people remove them for cosmetic purposes, because they simply don’t want them around anymore.
However, there are times when those harmless looking moles could indicate the presence of a condition such as cancer. So, if you notice a change in the size, colour, or shape of your mole, be sure to visit a dermatologist for an examination.
Regardless of the reason you may have for getting your mole removed, it’s important to take the time to learn about the different removal methods. Your dermatologist will discuss the various options with you, before deciding on the most appropriate technique.
Mole Removal Techniques
The most common methods of mole removal are safe, and can be done on an outpatient basis under local anaesthesia. There is minimal risk of scarring for small moles with roots that don’t run deep.
Shave excision is best for removing raised moles. It is a quick procedure that takes less than 10 minutes to complete. The excision of the mole is done using a special blade such as a dermablade, after which the area is cauterized.
After being removed, the mole is usually sent for a microscopic evaluation, to determine if there is any abnormality. Recovery takes 10 to 14 days.
Surgical excision is highly effective for deep moles that lie flat. The mole is usually completely removed and does not grow back. The area is first anesthetized and the mole is cut out, after which the wound is sutured. The wound can take anywhere from 7 to 14 days to heal, but this often depends on the part of the body from which the mole was removed.
Radiosurgery is also commonly used to remove moles and other skin lesions. It involves the use of high frequency radio waves that penetrate the skin, and completely destroy the mole. There is generally some bruising, swelling, and tenderness after the procedure. Healing takes 2-3 days.
There are several laser technologies that can effectively get rid of unwanted moles. The type of laser used will depend on the size and depth of the mole being removed. The laser is used to excise the pigment and eliminate the mole.
After treatment the area may be noticeably darker and patients are generally advised to reduce exposure to sunlight and use sunscreen when going outdoors.
Which Mole Removal Method is Right for you?
The method used depends on the type of mole being removed.
Is Your Mole Deep or Superficial? Deeper moles are more easily removed with surgical excision than with laser therapy or radiosurgery and scarring will also be minimal. Lasers are not generally recommended for flat moles.
Is Your Mole in a Hard to Reach Area? Laser mole removal is an effective way to eliminate moles situated in an obscure area.
Is Your Mole Above the Skin? Raised moles can be removed using shave excision or surgical excision.
Is Your Mole Suspicious? Surgical/shave excision is also recommended in cases where a mole is considered suspicious, as the mole can be removed and then tested. Laser therapy destroys the mole, so that’s why surgical/shave excision is preferred.
At Medicetics Skin Clinic, London, we normally evaluate moles using a Dermascope, to determine the most appropriate treatment option. A dermascope is a hand-held microscope that allows us to conduct an in-depth analysis of your mole.
Do you have a mole you would like removed? Call Medicetics Skin Clinic today on +44 (0) 207 402 2033 to book an appointment.