Introduction to Mole Removal
The medical procedure where a mole is removed.
What is a Mole Removal?
Moles (also known as melanocytic naevi) are brown or black growths on the skin made up of cells called melanocytes and can appear anywhere on the skin. Moles can raise or change colour as years pass, and hairs may develop. Moles also respond to hormonal changes, for example they can get slightly darker in pregnant women, increase in number in teenagers, or slowly disappear in the elderly. Common types of moles include junctional melanocytic naevi (brown, round and flat), dermal melanocytic naevi (raised, pale and hairy) and compound melanocytic naevi (raised above skin, light brown and hairy). Uncommon types include halo naevi (surrounded by white ring) and blue naevi (dark blue moles). Most people want to remove the moles due to concerns about possibility of a skin cancer, or due to cosmetic reasons. It should be noted that most moles are completely harmless.
How is a Mole Removal performed?
Mole removal can be with or without stitches. Moles that are dark and flat may need to be removed with stitches. The surgeon first sterilizes and numbs that area, then cut the mole using a scalpel. Stitches will then be put inside the wound or on the skin surface, depending on depth of the mole. For removal without stitches, the surgeon shaves the mole carefully so that it is either leveled or slightly below the skin. After that, an electrical tool is used to burn the area (cauterize) to stop any bleeding. The process is complete after covering of the wound with a sterile dressing.
How to prepare for a Mole Removal?
Scarring is a common issue after a mole removal so if you are thinking of removing a mole for cosmetic reasons, discuss with your surgeon to understand the location and size of the scar before making a decision.
What happens after a Mole Removal?
After the procedure, your doctor will prescribe you antibiotic ointment and give you a bandage on the wound. In fairly simple cases, follow-ups are not required. However, if you spot anything unusual, you should contact your doctor immediately and seek medical help.
For mole removal with stitches, follow-up depends on type of future used. Sutures on the face are normally removed within four to seven days while stitches elsewhere may be removed after one to two weeks.
You should also be careful not to get the area dirty as it can promote infection. Mole removal can also be followed with slight discomfort which will be relieved by pain killers.