Is my mole dangerous?
Most moles are benign or non-cancerous. If you have a longstanding mole that has not changed then the likelihood is that your mole is benign. To help identify if a mole is dangerous there are certain features to look out for and these include:
Size – if a mole is more than 5mm in size or if it has grown in size
Shape – if the mole is irregular
Border – if there are irregular borders
Colour – if there has been a change in colour or if the mole has variation in colour within it
Bleeding – if there has been bleeding without injury
Itching – if a mole has developed itchiness
If your moles has any of these features you should arrange a consultation for assessment of the mole.
How are moles removed?
There are a number of ways to remove a mole and the three main techniques are:
- Shave excision
- Laser mole removal
- Surgical excision
Each technique has its own advantages and disadvantages. Mr Nassab will discuss the options with you and determine which techniques would be suitable for removal of your mole.
What is shave excision?
Shave excision as the name suggests involves shaving a raised mole. This is a useful technique for benign moles. There will be a scar where the mole has been removed usually the size and shape of the mole. The scar will initially be red but should settle over a few months. This method removes only the raised part of the mole and so the roots may still be present. There is, therefore, a risk of recurrence or the mole growing back.
What is laser mole removal?
Laser mole removal involves using a special laser, either an erbium or CO2 laser, to remove the mole. This technique essentially burns the mole layer by layer until it is flush with the skin surface. The resultant scar is similar to that of a shave excision. It is generally a mark which is similar in shape and size to that of the mole. Since the mole is vapourised there will be no specimen to send for analysis. Therefore this method is not recommended if we are concerned about changes in a mole. There is a risk of recurrence with this method as well.
What is surgical excision?
Surgical excision is removal of the mole in its entirety. This means removal of the full thickness of the skin which includes the roots of the mole. This technique is generally recommended when we are concerned about a mole and want it to be analysed. The resultant scar is usually a straight line scar. There is a small risk of recurrence with this technique but it is much less than the other techniques mentioned.
How is mole removal performed?
All techniques are performed under local anaesthesia which involves an injection to numb the area being treated. Once the area is numb then the mole is removed by Mr Nassab using one of the techniques above.
What will it look like immediately after the procedure?
Immediately after the procedure you will have a dressing covering the wound. If have had stitches this dressing will stay on until you have the stitches removed after about one week.
How long does it take for the scar to settle?
The scar will initially be red and this will gradually improve with time. In general, scars take up to 1-2 years to fully mature and settle but most people will notice improvements within the first few months.
How can I help the scar settle?
There are things you can do to help the scar settle more quickly. It is recommended you use a silicone based scar cream daily for the first few weeks. The scar should also be massaged and moisturised regularly.
What are the risks with mole removal?
The main potential risks include:
All methods of mole removal will result in a permanent scar.
Infection is uncommon following mole removal.
Some bleeding or oozing can be expected after mole removal. This usually stops quickly with a little pressure to the area.
Some techniques such as shave excision or laser mole removal may not fully remove the mole. This is also the case with surgical excision although the likelihood of incomplete excision with surgical excision is less common.
The is a risk of the mole growing back. This risk is higher if you have a shave excision or laser mole removal.