Everything you need to know about mole removal
Having a mole removed can be a scary thought, as best case scenario, the mole can be just a dark spot on your skin you wish disappeared. However, worst case scenario, moles can be cancerous and lead to serious health risks if they are not dealt with right away. Mole removals can prevent the spread of cancerous and pre-cancerous cells and it is important to regularly examine your skin for new moles that chance over time for example in colour, size and diameter.
What causes moles to appear
There are many reasons why a mole may appear on your body. For example one reason may be genetics, another may be sun exposure which can also cause cancerous moles to appear on the skin.
If you see a new mole which looks different to other existing moles, it may be a good idea to get it checked. We recommend following the ABCDE's as a sign of skin cancer. If any of the below answer is yes, please book a consultation with a dermatologist as soon as possible?
- Asymmetry – Does one half of the mole look different from the other half?
- Border – Do the borders or edges of the mole look irregular?
- Color – Does your mole include shades of red, white, blue, brown, or black?
- Diameter – Is the mole larger than the eraser of a pencil?
- Envolving – Has the mole changed in size, shape, or color?
How will I know if a mole is cancerous?
The only way to find out if a mole is cancerous is by making an appointment with a dermatologist in which they will examine the area and determine if it is abnormal or not. If the dermatologist believes this does not appear norma, they will take a tissue sample or completely remove the mole if necessary. This will then be sent to a lab for further observation.
How moles are removed
There are a number of ways moles can be removed:
This method involves cutting a small section of the skin surrounding the mole while using a local anaesthetic. This method may involve a few stitches being made close to the skin.
For moles that are non-cancerous, a freezing technique can be used by using liquid nitrogen and freezing the mole off the skin. This method is relatively simple and may leave a small blister on the skin but a minimal scar afterwards.
Laser removal can be used on smaller moles by using intense light radiation to break down the mole. This method generally takes approximately two to three sessions and is often used when removing multiple moles in one session.
Shave removal involves using a scalpel to shave down the mole with the use of local anaesthetic. This method leaves minimal scarring following the procedure.
Is the procedure painful and risk of side effects
Mole removal is generally a very safe procedure and side effects are usually temporary. Potential side effects may include a small scar, brown pigmentation at the base of the mole and up to 5% will re-grow and may require further surgery in the long term. During the procedure, patients may feel slight discomfort however the procedure itself is usually quick and painless.