Mole Removal

Removing a mole is a relatively simple outpatient procedure that can usually be done in our clinic. The method we use depends on the reason for the removal. The most common methods are shaving it off and excising the mole. Make your appointment today with Dr. Punkesh, top rated dermatologist in to discuss potential procedural/surgical options.

Moles, also known as nevi, are incredibly common. Most adults have between 10 and 40 moles. You may be born with moles, but more often, they develop later in childhood. You may develop new moles until about age 40, and the moles you have tend to fade as you reach your senior years.

Whether you have a few moles or many, they're usually not anything to worry about. Sometimes, though, they need to be removed because they can become cancerous and develop into melanoma. People with more than 50 common moles are at greater risk for developing melanoma than people with fewer moles.

All symptoms, potential procedural/surgical options should always be discussed with your physician after a thorough consultation and examination for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

Characteristics of Common Moles

Moles usually occur above your waist but can be found on your buttocks, breasts or scalp as well. Since some moles can develop into melanoma, you should monitor the size and appearance of your moles for changes. Your dermatologist can show how to inspect your skin and keep track of any changes. Common moles tend to have the following characteristics:

  • Round or oval shape
  • Flat, or slightly raised with a domed appearance
  • Smooth, uniform edges
  • Smaller than the size of a pencil eraser
  • Uniform in color, some shade of pink, tan or brown

Moles are usually removed if they are new or changing.

Possible Melanoma

Common moles almost never turn into melanoma. Another type of mole, called a dysplastic nevus, is more likely to become cancerous, although many of these moles also remain benign. Dysplastic nevi are most frequently found where your body is exposed to the sun. Dysplastic nevi have a different appearance than common moles:

  • They're asymmetric, where half of the mole looks different.
  • They have an irregular border; it may look poorly defined or have scalloped edges.
  • They contain different colors; rather than being all one shade, the mole may have two or more colors, including black, white, red or even blue.

Monitor dysplastic nevi for changes that could indicate cancerous growth. If you have a mole that has become cancerous, it needs to be removed. While they don't all lead to cancer, when a cancerous mole is caught and removed early, your chances of survival are excellent. Watch for:

  • Size difference, since many melanomas are larger than a pencil eraser
  • Bleeding or oozing
  • Rough or scaly surface
  • Any changes in color, size, shape or texture

Physical Appearance

Beauty is an entirely subjective and personal perspective. For example, people around the globe, including many , embrace their moles. Others may feel self-conscious about them, especially if they're on the face. If you'd like to have your moles removed for cosmetic reasons, your dermatologist can help.

Sometimes, a raised mole gets in the way of personal grooming. A mole can cause discomfort and pain if it gets caught under your razor or comb. It makes sense to have such a mole removed.

Methods of Mole Removal

Removing a mole is a relatively simple procedure that can usually be done in your City dermatologist's office. The method your doctor uses depends on the reason for the removal. The most common methods are shaving it off and excising the mole.

Shaving Off the Mole

This procedure works best when the mole is being removed for cosmetic reasons. The mole is shaved off at the surface of the skin, leaving the skin flat and smooth. Some pigmentation may remain, as part of the mole is below the surface, but this method is the least likely to leave a noticeable scar. Because part of the mole is still there, under the skin, it may continue to grow, meaning it can reappear later.

When you visit your dermatologist in Manhattan for this treatment, the area on and around the mole is cleansed with antiseptic. A topical anesthetic stops any pain you'll feel during the procedure. Your dermatologist then simply uses a scalpel to shave the mole away from your skin. If necessary, blood vessels are cauterized to stop any bleeding. The whole procedure takes just minutes.

Excising the Mole

Sometimes, moles need to be removed both above and below the skin. The cut may be shallow or deep, depending on the reason for the excision. For cancerous moles, your City dermatologist needs to remove more of the surrounding tissue to ensure that all of the cancerous cells are gone. Because excision is an invasive surgical procedure, there are some risks, such as infection or possible nerve damage, although these risks are low.

Before an excision, the area around the mole is cleansed with an antiseptic solution and then numbed with an anesthetic. Your skin doctor carefully cuts around the mole in a circular or oval shape to remove it. The excision is closed with stitches; if the cut is deep, you may need stitches below the skin that dissolve safely by themselves. You may also get stitches on the surface of your skin, to keep the wound closed as it heals. A good dermatologist minimizes scarring.

Recovery From Mole Removal

If your mole was shaved off, you'll leave with just a bandage applied. After an excision, of course, you'll have stitches and a dressing. Because you needed only local anesthesia, you can return to all your normal activities after your procedure.

You may feel some pain when the anesthetic wears off, but it's usually manageable with over-the-counter pain relievers. The pain is temporary; as you heal, it diminishes. Contact your dermatologist if the pain becomes unmanageable because that's a sign that's something's wrong.

Although mole removal is an outpatient procedure, it does take some time for the wound to heal. Keep the site clean and dry. Follow your dermatologist's post-op instructions. You may opt to stay out of work for a few days, especially if the mole was in a conspicuous place. Be sure to keep any follow-up appointments.

All symptoms, potential procedural/surgical options should always be discussed with your physician after a thorough consultation and examination for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

Important Reminder: This information is only intended to provide guidance, not a definitive medical advice. Please consult dermatologist about your specific condition. Only a trained, experienced board certified dermatology doctor or pediatric dermatologist can determine an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.