Removing non-cancerous moles
Moles are a common skin growth. They can be non-cancerous, cancerous, and borderline. Non-cancerous moles do not always have to be removed, but some people prefer to have their moles removed regardless of whether they are cancerous or could develop into cancer.
Removing non-cancerous moles can sometimes be done by your primary care doctor. When a mole is benign (non-cancerous), removing it is usually a minor office-based procedure that can be done in your doctor’s office in just a few minutes. There are several procedures doctors use to remove non-cancerous (benign) moles. Your doctor will choose which procedure is best to remove your mole (or moles) based upon factors like the location, type, and size of the mole. There are four basic types of non-surgical mole removal: excision, shave removal, laser removal, and freezing.
Excision, also known as cutting, involves removing the mole and a small margin of skin using a scalpel or special surgical scissors. Before cutting the mole, your doctor will inject a local anesthetic into the mole so the removal process won’t be painful. If your mole has grown deep into the skin, your doctor may need to use stitches to close the wound after your mole is removed.
A shave removal of a mole is similar to an excision. Using a scalpel, your doctor will shave off layers of the mole until it is gone. Before your doctor begins shaving, he or she will give you a local anesthetic to numb the area so you won’t feel pain. Stitches aren’t usually necessary after this type of mole removal, but the skin may have a small pink patch where the mole used to be.
Laser mole removal
Some moles can be removed using lasers. This is most commonly done with small, flat, non-cancerous moles. During laser removal, your doctor will use bursts of light radiation to destroy the mole tissue. To fully remove a mole using laser therapy, you may need to have two or three treatments. Laser removal of moles can be a good option if moles are in hard to reach locations, like the ears, or on sensitive or highly visible areas of the skin, such as the face. Lasers can also be good for removing more than one mole at the same time.
Non-cancerous moles that live only on the surface of the skin can sometimes be removed by freezing them off. If you and your doctor decide freezing is the best method to remove your mole, your doctor will use liquid nitrogen to freeze it off. You may end up with a small blister on your skin where the mole used to be.
When a dermatologist should remove your mole
There are some moles that should only be removed by a dermatologist – a skin specialist with significant experience diagnosing and removing moles. There are several reasons to see a dermatologist to have moles evaluated or removed, including:
- Your mole is cancerous or could potentially be cancerous.
- You have multiple moles.
- Your mole has changed in shape, color, or size.
- Your mole is on your face or another area where you’d prefer not to have a scar.
Learn more about different types of moles.
Call 877-232-8226 today to schedule an appointment with a Beaumont dermatologist or to get a referral.
What to do if you want to have a mole removed
If you have a mole you would like to have removed, talk to your primary care doctor. He or she will evaluate the mole to determine whether it is likely benign or whether it should be biopsied to test for cancer. He or she can also provide you with a referral to a dermatologist if it is warranted.
If you don’t have a primary care physician, we can help. Call our Beaumont referral service today at 800-633-7377.