Mole Removal Overview

Moles are some of the most common skin growths that can appear on a person's skin, and while many are benign, it is a good idea to keep an eye on your moles and check with a dermatologist to determine that your moles are healthy.

Here are some quick facts about moles:

Most moles are benign overgrowths of pigment cells.

Typically, moles begin as flat brown spots and with time begin to grow and protrude above the skin surface. Most people consider mole removal when these areas become highly visible on the face, neck, cheeks, or near the eyes. Moles can also be called "beauty marks" or "birth marks."

Some moles are actually growths called 'seborrheic keratoses.'

Moles are commonly mistaken for another common skin condition called seborrheic keratoses. This condition is benign, and most are small, rough bumps that may thicken and develop a wart-like surface. Dermatologists can freeze or burn these off.

Mole removal options:

When it comes to mole removal, your doctor or dermatologist will determine the right method for you, but here are the three most common options:

  1. Shave excision: After numbing the area, the mole will be sliced off with a sharp scalpel blade, no sutures required. 
  2. Punch excision: Again after numbing, a small, cookie-cutter apparatus is applied to the mole and it is "twisted" out. This requires one to two sutures.  
  3. Surgical excision: A mole is often surgically removed if it is larger, and cannot be done by the previous two methods. 

It is important to note that whenever you remove something from the skin, there will be a scar. Removing moles from the chest, shoulders, and upper back have the highest risk of raised-scar formation. 

Additionally, if your medical provider has questions about whether your mole is benign or malignant, the sample will be sent to a lab for a biopsy to determine if you have skin cancer. 

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