Chances of a cauterized mole returning?

I had a small mole on my face removed about two weeks ago. The dermatologist did it by shaving it off and cauterizing the base. So far I've kept it bandaged & have been applying vaseline on it twice a day. The scab's fallen off and what's left is pink skin. It's too soon to tell, but I'm worried about the mole returning. Could a cauterized mole still grow back? And how long should I keep it bandaged/apply vaseline? Thank you!

Doctor Answers 2

It is difficult to say

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Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, it is impossible to say at this time whether or not your mole will recur. Sometimes, mole cells can extend deeper into the skin than what is visible to the naked eye. While a shave removal and cautery may appear to remove the mole, if mole cells are left behind the mole can come back. At this time, you'll just need to wait and see.

If the mole does recur and you desire removal again, I would recommend meeting with a board-certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist to discuss removing the mole via surgical excision, where the entire mole is cut out and stitches are placed.

I hope this answer is helpful! Best of luck.

Carlsbad Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Mole removal with cautery

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Using cautery to shave down a mole is a great technique, but in some cases the mole will come back.  

The reason is that many dermal nevi ("moles") extend deeper under the surface.  If you remove the mole by using cautery or some other technique into the deeper layers of skin there is a risk of scar formation if you go too deep.  

The goal should be to shave the mole down so that it is flush with the surrounding skin.  It is better to be conservative and do a touch up procedure if the mole grows taller than to be overly aggressive and have an unsightly scar.

This advice is for moles that are close to the same color as surrounding skin.  Dark brown moles require a different approach.

David W. Rodwell III, MD
Charleston Facial Plastic 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.