Mole Removal Overview

By RealSelf
  • Most moles are benign overgrowths of pigment cells. Typically, they begin as flat brown spots and with time begin to grow and stick out above the skin surface. Most people consider mole removal when they become highly visible areas of the face, neck, cheeks and near the eyes. Moles can also be called "beauty marks" or "birth marks"
  • Some moles are actually warty growths called seborrheic keratoses. Dermatologist treat these by freezing or burning them off. True moles (nevi) cannot be removed except by surgery
  • Three common mole removal options: a shave excision, a punch excision or a regular surgical excision. In a shave excision, the dermatologist will tangentially cut the mole off with a sharp scalpel blade--no sutures required. In the punch excision, the dermatologist will use a small cookie-cutter apparatus and twist the mole plug out, requiring one or two fine sutures. If the mole is larger, a surgical excision will be performed.
  • Surgery scar: Whenever you remove something from the skin, there will be a scar. Removing models from the chest, shoulders, and upper back have the highest risk of raised scar formation. 
  • At-home mole removal carries risks. Moles can be a sign of melanoma, a very serious form of skin cancer.  Removing a mole on your own doesn't allow you to get a qualified evaluation to ensure you don't have melanoma.

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