Moles, also known as dark spots or intradermal nevi, are abnormalities found under the skin that come in different shapes and sizes, colors and sensitivity. While most are not considered bothersome, as in Cindy Crawford’s famous mole, others can be dangerous with serious health risks.
It is imperative that those seeking mole removal surgery know the important elements of mole removal, especially scarring that may occur afterwards. Those considering this surgery should know their options and get as much information as possible to make an educated decision.
There are two generally accepted ways of mole removal: excision, cutting into the mole, which will require stitches, and excision with cauterization. Depending on how deep the mole is, a skin specialist will decide which is the best option for you.
Laser removal has been used as well; however, it’s not as reliable or popular because it doesn’t get as deep into the skin as may be needed for a deep rooted mole. Laser removal isn’t as effective, and according to Gregory Caputy, MD, Chief Surgeon in Honolulu, Hawaii, this procedure often has recurring moles.
Shave biopsies may be utilized for moles that are raised above the skin’s surface, causing irritation while wearing clothes or shaving. This option often leaves a white scar or a spot that has the same color of the mole being removed.
Generally, mole removal procedures take around an hour per mole. Topical antibiotics are applied afterwards to avoid infection. Discoloring of the skin, scabs, redness, and discomfort may occur as a result of the surgery. Usually within two weeks, sensitivity to the area will be reduced.
In almost every case, mole removal results in a scar. Depending on the method used, the scar can be more noticeable. Your doctor or surgeon will be able to give a preliminary idea of the size and shape of the scar before surgery. Some scars can be a thin white line if stitches were used, or an oval shape after cauterization.
To reduce the appearance of the scar, moisturize the area. Dry, itchy skin is more susceptible to scarring because the skin is irritated. Scar treatment cream is also recommended. Read the instructions on usage, but generally apply to the afflicted area at least three to four times a day in addition to the moisturizer.
Some cosmetic experts say that massaging the area increases circulation, which means the important healing nutrients and white blood cells reach the excision more easily.
While scarring will occur, most people take comfort in the realization that the scar is much less noticeable than the mole itself. Moles that are removed from the face or neck should be removed by a plastic surgeon because the scars will be finer and less noticeable.