Can a Mole Be Removed Without Leaving a Scar?

How large of a scar should be expected? Is it possible to have no scars whatsoever?

Doctor Answers 34

Mole Removal By Scalpel Sculpting: The No Stitches Way

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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.

New York Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Scars after mole removal

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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.

Andrew Kaufman, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

There is always a risk of scarring with mole removal

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Most moles can be removed with a shave technique that leaves very minimal scarring. Often this is not large enough to be visible to the naked eye. However, some moles need to be removed with an excision technique. Anytime a blade touches the skin there is a risk of scarring. How any one person scars is difficult to predict. Every consent for mole removal has scarring as potential consequence. With the right technique- scarring can be minimized but there will always be a faint scar of the skin. 

Sameer Bashey, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

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No Scar?

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There was a television show, "Nip Tuck" a few years ago about two plastic surgeons and frequently they would tell a patient that they would do a procedure and there would be "no scar."  But that's TV -- not real life.

There is ALWAYS a scar when skin heals.  There is even technically a scar when you get an injection, but it's too small for you to notice.   So the questions are:  How much of a scar?   How do we get to make it as unnoticeable as possible?  What are the options?

Those are questions you can discuss with your dermatologist or plastic surgeon.  And I would advise you to get multiple opinions and choose that which FEELS right to you.   Trust your intuition.

Michael A. Greenberg, MD
Elk Grove Village Dermatologist
4.9 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Can a Mole Be Removed Without Leaving a Scar?

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Anytime a lesion is removed there will be a scar. Scars can be placed in ways that minimize how noticeable they are and various things can be done to minimize their visibility (such as scar gels) but there is no way to remove something surgically without leaving some sort of mark. You have to decide whether you would rather have the mole or a scar where it once was. The only way to know for sure what your likely result will be is to book a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon near you. Best of luck! 

Mathew A. Plant, MD, FRCSC
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

Mole removal without scars.

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Anytime the skin is cut a scar will be left behind. However, these types of scars are usually very small when it is from mole removal. There are great treatments for mole removal scars, such as microneedling or fraxel laser treatments which can virtually erase any scars left behind from having a mole removed. 

Kaleroy Papantoniou, MD, FAAD
Great Neck Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

No scars: is it possible?

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Much of this depends on how well you (the patient) heals. Some folks just scar less than others. Some of the scarring depends on the technique of your surgeon, and can be reduced with good skill. What remains can be treated by laser therapy, for example.

The good thing about moles is that generally the repair is not done under tension, so that really helps with reduced scarring.

Take a look at the before/after photos of noses I have under "Mohs"….no, they are not photo shopped! There really is practically no scar. 

So yes, it is possible. Ask your surgeon to tell you ahead of time what to expect--they should know. 

Scar after mole removal

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A scar will form any time anything is removed from the skin.
The question is: Will the scar be noticeable?
This depends on:
  • The location of the lesion on the body—Shoulders heal worse than the face.
  • The age of the patient—Younger skin may heal worse than older skin.
  • The health of the patient—Sick, debilitated patients heal worse than healthy patients.
  • How well the patient heals—Keloid formers may get thick scars.
  • How well the patient cares for the wound—Dirty, infected wounds heal worse than clean wounds.
  • The skill of the surgeon:
    • Is the doctor gentle or rough with the skin?
    • Will the doctor place the wound in the correct direction?
    • Is the doctor doing a fancy risky flap when a lsimple cosure will work just as well?
    • Is the doctor using the right sutures for the problem?  

Harry Goldin, MD
Skokie Dermatologist

Can a Mole Be Removed Without Leaving a Scar?

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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

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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
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 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.