Can a Mole Be Removed Without Leaving a Scar?

What can I expect in terms of scars after mole removal? Is it possible to do it with no scars whatsoever?

Doctor Answers 27

Scars after mole removal

Anything that traumatizes the skin has the potential to leave a scar. Some scars heal so well that they're barely perceptalble. These might be the scars that patients might refer to as a "no scar" type of surgery. However, there are a lot of factors that determine the ultimate outcome, including what type of procedure was done (shave vs. excision), whether the wound was closed or allowed to heal by itself, whether there was any complication, such as thickened scarring or infection, where on the body the surgery was performed,  how well the patient cared for the wound, and on and on. So the best that you can do is find a doctor with excellent training and experience that you have the utmost confidence in and trust that they will do the best they can to provide you with the best scar possible.

Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
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Surgery means a surgical scar

Patients often come to me as a plastic surgeon for mole removal because they "don't want a scar." It is impossible to make a surgical cut and not leave a scar. What plastic surgeons and anyone who pays attention to getting the best possible cosmetic outcome do is to allign scars along natural skin tension lines to minimize the scarring.

Never remove a mole with a laser.

I disagree with a posting by another physician here. True moles (nevi) are collections of melanocytes, the cells that make melanoma if they become malignant, not just random brown patches on the skin. These should never, ever be removed by laser. Laser may remove the outer layer of the pigment cells, leaving deeper melanocytes that can't be well monitored for changes over time.

Any mole removal should be surgical (shave or excision) and be sent for pathologic evaluation to ensure its benign nature. That said, careful, artistic mole removals, especially on the face, can often be performed with essentially "no scar", though bear in mind there is really no such thing as "scarless" surgery, just "hard to find scar" surgery. Find an artistic, careful dermatologic surgeon or plastic surgeon.

Jessica J. Krant, MD, MPH
New York Dermatologic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

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Scarless Mole Removal

Depending on the type of mole, some can be removed with a "scarless" technique.  I use a modification of a shave technique which makes it very difficult if not impossible to tell where the mole has been removed.  

Anil R. Shah, MD
Chicago Facial Plastic Surgeon
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Mole Removal By Scalpel Sculpting: The No Stitches Way

Scalpel Sculpting is a three-minute, simple way to remove moles (often called "beauty marks," or "birth marks.") without the need for cutting deeply into the skin or placing any stitches.

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. That's when they come to most people's attention, especially when they are on the highly visible areas of the face, neck and especially on the cheeks and near the eyes.

At one time surgeons cut them out down to their roots, a surgical procedure that required stitches and bandages and often left stitch tracks and unsightly scars and irregularities in pigmentation.

Today, instead of cutting deeply into the skin, cosmetic dermasurgeons angle the scalpel horizontally beneath the projecting portion of the mole to "sculpt" it away. The wound is then covered with a drop of liquid bandage and left to heal by itself. It usually takes seven to ten days for the crust to fall off and a few weeks for the color to fade toward normal.

Patients can return to work immediately following the procedure. The risk of any kind of scarring with this method are very small, since no deep cutting is performed. In the course of healing, normal skin from the surrounding area generally grows over the wound, which lends to a very nice color match in most cases.

It is extremely important that the removed surface specimen be sent to the laboratory to be one thousand percent certain that the mole being removed for cosmetic purposes is nothing more than just a benign birth mark and not a hidden melanoma, a very serious form of skin cancer.

For this reason, I strongly advise against moles being removed by destructive methods, such as burning, cauterizing, acids, and lasers. These methods destroy the removed specimen and do not permit a laboratory evaluation.

Nelson Lee Novick, MD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Can a Mole Be Removed Without Leaving a Scar?

Thank you for your question. Any surgical procedure performed to remove a mole (nevus) will leave a scar. Scar formation varies from patient to patient. There are multiple surgical strategies that can be utilized to help make the scar less conspicuous. After the procedure there are also several modalities of scar treatment that can be employed to help the scar as it matures through its lifecycle. I recommend that you make an appointment with a board certified plastic surgeon for a thorough exam and to discuss your surgical options.

Mole removal in Los Angeles

Epidermal moles often do not leave scars after mole removal. Our office specializes in mole removal in the Los Angeles. Most treatments are performed on an outpatient basis. 

Raffy Karamanoukian MD FACS
Los Angeles

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

Scarring from mole removal

Unfortunately, no. A mole cannot be removed with conventional blade surgery without a scar, however, scar appearance can vary widely depending upon your surgeon, your healing time, and aftercare. Sometime in our lifetime we’ll be able to laser moles – we can almost do it – but our current lasers just don’t penetrate deep enough yet to fully remove all melanocytes within the dermis.

Bobby Buka, MD
New York Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Can a Mole Be Removed Without Leaving a Scar?

Yes... You can expect minimal to no scar when mole be removed. As I am not examined you, I told general terms.  

Jhonny Salomon, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Mole removal without scar?

There is no such thing as full excision of a lesion without a scar.  If performed by a plastic surgeon, then the scar can be minimized using complex closure techniques.  I would never use the phrase "scarless technique" because is completely misleading.  Sure, some patients heal such that the scar is invisible but this is not always the case and we should not make knowingly misleading representations.  I also agree that laser should never be used in this context because it is important to get a pathology report to rule out the presence of dysplasia and skin cancer.

Robert L. Kraft, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

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.