i had a mole frozen off a week ago but doctor didnt do a biopsy, is there still a way to biopsy after to make sure its benign? thanks
Biopsy After Freezing Mole?
Doctor Answers (6)
Mole biopsy after freezing.
one week ago would be difficult. The inflammatory reaction could confuse pathologists and this could affect the diagnosis. I would wait until all of the healing is done and see if there is any part of the mole left. Otherewise I would watch the area on a regular basis and get check ups.
Please ask your doctor exactly what the lesion he removed was. Seborrheic keratoses, which are benign aging warty-looking growths, are usually treated successfully with liquid nitrogen. If a true mole was treated with liquid nitrogen, it will probably regrow and can then be biopsied.
Most likely if your mole was treated with cryotherapy, it was not a mole at all but a seborrheic keratosis. This would be especially true if the mole was treated by a dermatologist. Many lay people will call a seborrheic keratosis a mole when it is not. We also hear them described as warts ( the British incidentally call them seborrheic warts). If there is a question whether a particular lesion is a seborrheic keratosis or mole, the use of a dermatoscope can easily differentiate the two.
Freezing tissue distorts the its histology so much that it usually can make identification very problematic. However, if there is a portion of the lesion still present after a month or so, you can always have this re-biopsied and submitted. Any anxiety over this lesion should be alleviated at that point.
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More commonly, seborrheic keratoses, or "age spots" are frozen, while nevi (moles) are biopsied. Perhaps your physician froze a completely benign brown velvety seborrheic keratosis and not a mole. Many times, it is dificult for a non-physician, or non-dermatologist to tell the difference.
Please see my blog post on the Kraussderm website to read about seborrheic keratoses.
Moles should always be excised and submitted for pathological examination. We can not afford missing a diagnosis of melanoma. With freezing, laser destruction or destruction of a mole by any means one misses the opportunity for a biobsy and proper diagnosis.
Biopsying a mole after it has been frozen
You should wait several weeks to preferably a month for the area to heal before having a biopsy done. A biopsy can then be done for any remaining portion of the mole for reassurance. I feel that it is never appropriate to freeze (cryosurgery) a mole or use a laser as the primary treatment for removing a mole. Regardless of how "benign" a mole may appear, a biopsy may still reveal it to be atypical. There are many ways to surgically remove a mole with a minimal scar and have tissue to send for microscopic examination which is the only way to ensure that it was benign. Other methods of destruction such as cryosurgery or a laser will alter its look and make it more difficult to observe for precancerous changes in the future.
These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.