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What is Mole Removal Surgery?

Mole removal surgery is a surgical procedure to remove moles, which are usually benign skin growths composed of melanocytes (cells that produce pigment). Moles can appear anywhere on the body, usually in brown, black, or skin tone. While most moles are harmless, some individuals may choose to have them removed for cosmetic or medical reasons. A dermatologist can typically remove a mole during a routine office visit.

Indications for Mole Removal Surgery

Some of the common reasons for recommending mole removal surgery include:

  • Cosmetic Concerns: Many people choose to remove moles for cosmetic reasons, especially if the mole is large, dark, or in a prominent location on the face or body.
  • Suspicion of Skin Cancer: If a mole shows signs of being cancerous or precancerous (such as asymmetry, irregular borders, color variation, or changes in size or shape), removal may be recommended to biopsy the tissue and check for cancerous cells.
  • Mole Irritation: Moles that rub against clothing or jewelry, or are in areas prone to friction, may become irritated, inflamed, or even bleed. Removing such moles can alleviate discomfort.

Preparation for Mole Removal Surgery

In general, preparation for mole removal surgery may involve the following:

  • A physical examination of the mole to be removed to determine the best approach for removal
  • Inform your healthcare provider about any allergies, medications, supplements, or medical conditions you may have
  • You may be asked to temporarily discontinue medications such as blood thinners, as these can increase the risk of bleeding during surgery
  • Normally, there are no restrictions on eating or drinking before the procedure
  • You should wear comfortable clothing and remove any jewelry from around the treatment area to facilitate mole removal
  • A signed informed consent form will be obtained from you after the pros and cons of the procedure have been explained

Procedure for Mole Removal Surgery

In general, the procedure for mole removal surgery may involve the following steps:

  • The surgical area is cleaned and sterilized, and local anesthesia is administered to numb the area around the mole. In some cases, a topical numbing cream may be applied before the injection of anesthesia to minimize discomfort.
  • Depending on the size, location, and type of mole, the surgeon may use one of several techniques:
    • Excision: A scalpel is used to cut out the mole along with a margin of normal skin tissue around it. The wound edges are then stitched or closed with surgical glue.
    • Shave Excision: If the mole is raised and does not extend deep into the skin, it may be shaved off using a surgical blade. This technique typically does not require stitches but may result in a flat scar.
    • Laser Removal: A laser is used to vaporize the pigment cells in the mole. This technique is often used for smaller, flat moles and can result in minimal scarring.
    • Freezing: This technique utilizes a small amount of liquid nitrogen to remove a noncancerous mole.
    • Burning: This technique utilizes an electric current to burn off the upper layers of a noncancerous mole. It may take more than one session to complete the mole removal.
  • In some cases, the removed mole may be sent to a laboratory for biopsy to check for cancerous or precancerous cells.
  • After removing the mole, the surgeon will apply a sterile dressing or adhesive bandage to the surgical site.

Post-Procedure Care Instructions

You may receive specific instructions on how to care for the wound at home, such as keeping it clean and dry and avoiding strenuous activities that could disrupt the healing process. After the surgical site has healed, you may be advised on scar management techniques to minimize the appearance of the scar, such as using silicone gel sheets, applying sunscreen to protect the scar from sun exposure, and massaging the scar tissue to improve its texture. You will have a scheduled follow-up appointment with your healthcare provider to monitor the healing progress and to assess the surgical site for any signs of infection or complications.

Risks and Complications

Mole removal surgery is generally considered safe, but like any surgical procedure, it carries certain risks and potential complications. These can include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Scarring
  • Pigment changes
  • Allergic reactions
  • Nerve damage
  • Incomplete mole removal
  • Delayed healing
Location & Directions

Connect with Dr. Kaplin

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    Skin Smart Dermatology

    8200 Flourtown Ave,
    Suite 7, Wyndmoor, PA 19038

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    Practice Hours

    Monday – Friday
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