Mole Removal Overview
Mole removal may be recommended for cosmetic improvement or as part of a cancer prevention plan. Depending on the location, size, and depth of the mole, one of several techniques may be used:
• Skin excision (with or without stitches)
• Skin Punch Technique
There is very little a patient need do to prepare for mole removal, though Dr. Vallecillos may recommend that you cease taking blood-thinning medications (such as aspirin) for a short period of time before the procedure. If you smoke, you should consider quitting for two weeks before and after the procedure, as smoking can delay healing and exacerbate scarring.
A local anesthetic is sufficient for mole removal, and usually consists of a lidocaine (a numbing agent) injection near the mole. Dr. Vallecillos may also administer epinephrine, which helps to reduce and control bleeding during the procedure.
- Depending on the size and depth of the mole, Dr. Vallecillos may utilize one of several methods.
In this method, a scalpel is used to remove the raised portion of a mole, leaving it flush with or slightly below the surrounding skin. Stitches may be needed, and then the wound is covered with an antibiotic ointment and bandaged.
Cauterization refers to the medical practice of using a controlled burn on part of the body to remove or close off a portion of it. It is executed using a very fine instrument and is often used during surgeries to control bleeding from small blood vessels. During mole removal, cauterization can be used to remove the mole itself, as well as to control bleeding when other mole removal methods are employed.
Skin Punch Technique
Skin punch refers to the cylindrical removal of a portion of the skin, and is a technique used in treating acne and mole removal. After the mole is excised, sutures will be used to close the wound.
Dr. Vallecillos may choose to send a portion of the extracted tissue to a pathology lab for analysis, to determine whether the cells were pre-cancerous.
Although scarring is common with all mole removals, it will be minimized as much as possible.
Mole Removal FAQ
Who is a candidate for mole removal?
You should consider mole removal if you have a family history of cancer, if you have large or unusual moles on your body, if you have a mole in an especially conspicuous place (such as the face), or if your doctor recommends it as part of a cancer prevention plan.
What is the recovery time for mole removal?
Recovery time is usually short, but will vary depending on the severity of the extraction. Some bleeding and discomfort may be experienced in the first few days after surgery. Patients should keep the wound covered in antibiotic ointment and bandaged until instructed otherwise by Dr. Vallecillos. Stitches are removed within the first week after the procedure.
Are there risks or side effects with mole removal?
Mole removal is a minimally-invasive procedure, and thus there are few risks and side effects. As with all surgeries, infection is a possibility, but can be minimized by carefully following Dr. Vallecillos’ instructions for post-operative care. Scarring is the most common side effect, and though rare, nerve damage can occur if the mole extends particularly deep into the skin.
How long do the results last?
While mole removal is intended to be a permanent procedure, if some of the cells are left behind there is a chance it may return. It is important to receive regular check ups to monitor the mole site.