I have several small, round, and flat moles on my face(11+). I've had them for over 15 years and I want them all to be gone. Is it possible to have them remove by laser? I am Asian so I tend to scar easily on my body, but not my face. Also, would a dermatologist remove them or facial plastic surgeon?
Is It Possible To Have Moles Removed By Laser?
Doctor Answers (9)
It is my recommendation that you have these moles/lesions looked at by a board certified dermatologist or a board certified plastic surgeon. It is not advised to have lesions lasered without a biopsy.
Moles Removed By Laser?
When it comes to moles, it is advisable to use a scalpel as opposed to a laser. In this way a sample of tissue can be sent to the lab to make sure it is benign not cancerous. Sometimes if you have a raised brown mole, the laser is useful in conjunction with the scalpel. First the area is numbed with local anesthetic, then the scalpel can be held in a horizontal manner and the mole can be shaved and removed in a way that it is debulked, and then a pigmented specific laser, such as the Q switched alexandrite laser can be used to zap the residual pigment in the skin.
Laser or electrofulguration of flat pigmented moles on the face does good in asian patients.
Many flat hyperpigmented lesions of the skin do well with laser or electrofulguration but may need to be done 2-3 times at a month between treatments before they appear gone but will always return with a lot of sun exposure. Plan on doing this every few yrs to keep them under control. Sincerely,
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Laser May Be Useful for Some Moles
Laser therapy may be an acceptable modality to treat some moles, and have the advantage of improving or eliminating the color of the mole wihout leaving a scar. Moles that respond best are generally smaller, flatter, dark moles. However, no mole should be removed by laser before being evaluated by a Board Certified Dermatologist to ensure it shows no atypical features. If there is ANY atypical features to your mole, it should not be lasered.
Various lasers that can be helpful include q-switched Nd:Yag (1064nm), frequency doubled q-switched Nd:Yag (532nm), or q-switched or long pulsed Ruby (694nm) or Alexandrite (755nm). These lasers can reduce or eliminate the color without leaving scar, but results are inconsistent, and the color may return.
Erbium or CO2 laser may also be used to eliminate moles, but these are ablative lasers, and therefore may result in scarring, so are generally not preferred over surgical excision.
Be sure to consult with a Board Certified physician with extensive laser and surgical experience to ensure your best results.
Removing Moles With a Laser
I feel that it is never appropriate to use a laser as your primary treatment for removing a mole. Regardless of how "benign" a mole may appear, a biopsy may still reveal it to be atypical. Using a laser to improve the appearance of a mole will alter its look and make it more difficult to observe for precancerous changes in the future. Moles can be removed very easily, and less expensively, using simple techniques that will result in a minimal scar. They also have the added benefit of sending tissue for microscopic examination, at least for reassurance purposes.
Small, flat moles less than 3mm in diameter can often be successfully treated with laser.
Small, flat moles less than 3mm in diameter can often be successfully treated with laser. I have been using laser to remove small, flat, benign appearing nevi for the past 20 years including treatment of Asian skin types. This works very well for many nevi. This type of treatment almost never leaves a scar.
Never laser moles
While there have been published, scientifically sound studies demonstrating the ability to remove pigment with lasers and perhaps the moles themselves, I would strongly suggest that it not be something you should do on a regular basis. I know the physicians who have performed the research and they do not even offer this is a solution to their patients except in the extremely rare case of Giant Congenital Hairy Nevi. Super rare condition.
While lasers work great for removing many types of pigment from the skin, patients should be extremely careful with moles and lasers. As a general rule, the pigment in moles should not be lasered, as this has the potential to cover up or camouflage a melanoma.
Now, if it is something called a seborrheic keratosis in the setting of dermatosis papulosa nigra, then electrocautery can work. However, an evaluation by a dermatologist is important to determine its true identity before treatment.
Which ever way it is removed it will leave a scar behind
SCARS are forever..................................
Removal of moles
It is possible to burn a mole off with a laser, but it will leave a scar. The extent and type of scarring will depend on the shape, type and size of the mole. For smaller moles, on balance, cutting it out is likely to give a better linear scar. For larger moles of certain types Laser may give a better scar. Both Plastic Surgeons and dermatologists perform mole removals.
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.