Skin moles removal

What are skin moles?

Moles, medically termed nevi, are skin lesions appearing as small dark brown spots. Moles occur when pigment or colour producing cells called melanocytes grow in clusters. These are common in appearance and may be present at birth or develop later in life.

When do skin moles appear?

Most people have 10 to 40 moles by adulthood, which mostly appear in childhood and usually until 30 years of age.

What are characteristic features of skin moles?

Moles are usually round or oval but over years, they can become flat or raised or can change colour or some of them may slowly fade away. Moles tend to become darker on sun exposure or due to hormonal changes during the teenage years and pregnancy.

What are the concerning features of skin moles to watch out for?

The moles that are of medical concern are those with an appearance that has changed over time. This can include changes in colour, height, size, or shape or the ones with bleeding, itching, redness or swelling. Medical attention is required if you find any of the features that are described as ABCDEs of melanomas: Asymmetry, irregular Borders, change in Colour, Diameter greater than a pencil eraser and Elevated or enlarged.

What are the different types of moles?

Congenital nevi – are the moles developed at birth. These are more likely to become cancerous than the ones that develop later in life.

Dysplastic nevi - are large moles (diameter larger than that of a pencil eraser) with irregular shapes that are found to be inherited. These are characterised by colour variation within the mole, typically dark brown centres and lighter, uneven borders. These moles are at a higher risk of developing into cancer.

How is a skin mole diagnosed?

A mole can be identified by your doctor on physical examination of the skin. A biopsy (sample of the tissue is taken for lab examination) may be performed if the mole is suspected to be cancerous.

How are skin moles treated?

Most moles do not require treatment. However, surgery is recommended if the mole is found to be or suspected to become cancerous.

What are the methods of mole removal?

There are two methods for mole removal:

Excision (removal) of mole with stitches:

This procedure is performed under local anesthesia. Your surgeon utilizes a scalpel and cuts out the entire mole and the surrounding skin if the mole is suspected to be precancerous or cancerous. The skin is then closed using stitches.

Excision without stitches:

During this type of excision that is generally used for small moles, your surgeon utilizes a surgical blade and shaves the mole off to the skin level or slightly below it. The bleeding caused during the procedure is stopped using an electrical instrument or a solution that will burn (cauterize) the area.

After the procedure, a topical antibiotic is applied on the wound and it is covered using a bandage. Care must be taken at home to keep the wound clean and covered until it heals completely.

What are the risks and complications of skin mole excision?

Like any surgical procedure, mole excision too may result in complications that include:

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Wound infection
  • Scarring
  • Injury to the surface nerves causing temporary numbness or burning sensation

What type of post operative care is required following skin mole removal?

  • You need to keep the wound area clean and dry
  • You should clean the wound once or twice every day using water or diluted hydrogen peroxide
  • Once the wound is cleaned, you need to apply a topical antibiotic cream and cover the wound using a bandage.
  • You must clean the wound until it heals completely

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