I Have a Black Mole (Birthmark) I Want to Get Removed. What Are my Options?

Is laser removal a possibility?

Doctor Answers 7

Mole removal

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Mole removal is best accomplished by surgical removal, rather than laser for both cosmetic and medical reasons because with surgery, a biopsy is obtained. However, in the central cheek there should always be concern about the cosmetic outcome particularly in African Americans where keloid formation may be a hereditary problem, and subsequent treatment of the keloid may be problematic due to pigmentary issues.

Miami Dermatologic Surgeon

Mole removal

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The option would be to complete surgically excise the mole.  This entails cutting the mole out entirely and replacing it with a scar.  If you are fine with trading in a mole for a potentially even longer scar, then this would be an option.  Otherwise, you may want to consider leaving the mole alone.  I do not recommend lasering the mole.

Sam Naficy, MD, FACS
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 231 reviews

Recommend leaving it alone

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To fully remove this mole, you would need to cut it out entirely, and then stitch the two edges together.  The scar would be about twice as long as the mole itself.  In my opinion, the risk of creating a scar which may look worse than the mole itself is great enough that I would recommend leaving the mole.  Laser will not work.

Lisa Benest, MD
Burbank Dermatologist

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Mole removal

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The options depend on the size of the mole and location.  Sometimes, a mole can be shaved tangentially (horizontally), other times a mole may need to be fully excised -- skillfully, to camoflauge the results of the scar.   In any event, it is very important to make sure that the mole is biopsied and sent to a pathology lab to make sure that it is benign.

Deborah Sarnoff, MD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon

Dark moles can be lightened up with several gentle electrofulgeration sessions.

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There is no doubt that dark uniform moles are annoying and cause patients to be upset with their appearance and have self confidence problems.  Several gentle electrofulguration treatments can lighten them up enough to improve the appearance and is easy to do for roughly $175 per session per mole, freckle, or age spot.  Yes they will recur in time, but hopefully it may be several yrs before you have to do it again.  Total excison with dermabrasions are always a more permanent solution.  Sincerely,

David Hansen,MD

David Hansen, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Birthmark "moles" are often located deep into the skin and require surgery to remove them.

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Birthmark "moles" are often located deep into the skin and require surgery to remove them. Laser surgery cannot do this without leaving a huge scar. In most cases surgical removal leaves a fine line scar which is less noticeable than the mole.

William P. Coleman III, MD
Metairie Dermatologic Surgeon

Laser is not a good idea for mole (nevus) removal

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There at least two good reasons for this:

1. Moles usually have a superficial and deep component.  Lasers can either remove pigment or vaporize tissue to remove something.  So if there is a deep component to this mole, either the vaporizing laser will not remove it completely or it will leave a crater if complete removal is attempted.  If there is incomplete removal, the mole can recur and be irregularly pigmented.

2. If you use a laser to remove pigment only, you may be left with a light or white spot in the place of the mole, also not an acceptable alternative..

I would not recommend laser treatment of moles at all.  If you must have it removed, consult with a board certified dermatologic surgeon or plastic surgeon.

Emily Altman, MD
Short Hills Dermatologic Surgeon

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.