What To Expect When You Have A Mole Removed

If you're concerned about a mole on your body, talk to your dermatologist about having it removed. It isn't always necessary to remove a mole, since they aren't always a symptom of skin cancer. However, if the mole is in a place where it causes irritation, or if you think it affects your appearance, then your doctor can easily remove it for you. This is how it's done.

Cutting Out A Mole

If the mole is fairly large, the doctor will probably choose to cut it out. The area will be numbed first, so you'll not feel any pain. Then the doctor makes an incision around the mole and cuts it away from your skin. If there is any concern that the mole contains cancer cells, the doctor may remove a border of healthy tissue too, so stray cancer cells are removed. The mole will then be sent to the lab for a biopsy to confirm or rule out skin cancer.

A large incision usually requires stitches so the wound can heal. If the incision is deep, the doctor may place the stitches inside the wound. Stitches may also be placed on the surface of the skin to hold it together. The internal stitches will dissolve on their own, but the ones on the top of your skin will need to be removed later.

Your dermatologist will explain how to care for your wound. It's important to follow the instructions, especially if the mole is on your face. If you don't care for the wound properly, it may leave a scar. You'll probably need to apply ointment for a few days and keep the incision covered with a bandage so it stays clean.

Shaving Off A Mole

If your mole is shallow, and if the doctor determines it isn't associated with skin cancer, you may not need to have it cut out. Instead, the doctor can remove it by shaving it off with a scalpel. This removes the mole as long as it is just below the surface of your skin. After shaving it off, the doctor will apply medication or use cauterization to stop bleeding. No stitches are needed for this method of mole removal, so you probably won't need a follow-up visit with the doctor. You'll still need to care for the wound and keep it bandaged until your skin completely heals.

No matter which method your doctor uses, mole removal is a fairly simple procedure that is done during an office visit. There is always a risk of being left with a slight scar, but if you have suspected skin cancer, or if the mole is constantly being irritated by shaving or clothing, then it's a risk worth taking. If you're having the mole removed from your face because you don't like the way it looks, your dermatologist can help you judge if it is worth the risk by considering the size and depth of the mole. Even if you are left with a slight scar, it probably won't be as noticeable as a dark mole.