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What Does the Mole Removal Process Involve?

Moles usually appear during childhood or adolescence and may be flat or raised from your skin's surface. Their colors can range from skin tone to brown. Having several moles once you reach adulthood is normal and most moles are harmless.

Keeping an eye on your moles in case they unexpectedly change is important. Learning what signs to look for helps you get timely medical attention. Sometimes, moles can be cancerous or pre-cancerous, and getting them removed and analyzed can make a positive difference in your health.

If you ever need to get a mole removed for health reasons or because you want to pursue this option for cosmetic purposes, you should always have a dermatologist do it.

How to Recognize Mole Abnormalities

Self-examination can help you determine whether you should see a dermatologist for one or more moles. However, if you are unsure, you should err on the side of caution and seek a professional opinion.

The ABCDE method is a convenient way to identify changes in a mole:

  • A: asymmetry
  • B: border, when the edge of a mole has become blurred or irregular
  • C: color, especially if the mole has unusual ones like black, red, white, or blue
  • D: diameter, if the mole has enlarged
  • E: evolution, if the mole grows or changes

If you notice any of those elements, you should schedule an appointment with your dermatologist.

Avoid Trying to Remove Your Mole at Home

No matter the reason why you are looking to remove a mole, at-home methods are not safe and can be harmful. Even products you may purchase in stores or pharmacies are not proven to yield optimal results and can still lead to negative side effects.

Dermatological Examination

During the appointment to discuss the state of your mole and whether you want or need to proceed with the removal, your dermatologist performs a physical examination of the area after reviewing your health history.

Your provider also asks questions about when you noticed the changes in your mole and whether you have a family history of mole removal, benign or cancerous. They may also inquire whether you previously experienced peeling sunburns or regular exposure to UV rays.

Most Common In-Office Mole Removal Methods

The two primary methods to remove a mole are surgical excision and shave excision. Your dermatologist will walk you through which option is an appropriate fit for your specific situation.

For a surgical excision, your provider cleans the area and injects a topical numbing agent before using a scalpel to remove the mole and some of the surrounding skin. They may cauterize the area to stop any natural bleeding that occurs before stitching the treated area.

Shave excision does not go as deep as its surgical alternative even though it provides samples that a laboratory can test. During this type of procedure, your dermatologist levels the mole to the surrounding skin level. They may cauterize the area to improve the appearance of the scar that is likely to form during healing.

Mole Removal Aftercare

After the procedure, your dermatologist applies a moisturizing agent and bandages the area. They provide you with instructions for the following days, which typically involves keeping the area moisturized. You can expect to develop a scar on the site of your mole removal.

If your mole requires a biopsy, your dermatologist can send your sample to a laboratory. They can discuss your results and any necessary treatment with you during a follow-up appointment. If you need regular monitoring for other moles, they will recommend an appropriate schedule, often annually or semi-annually.

Are you concerned about a mole and need to get it checked by a dermatologist? Contact Advanced Dermatology Center today at (818) 284-4003 to schedule a consultation at our Burbank office!