Moderately Atypical Nevus with Several Focal Atypia- Do I Need Surgery?

How serious is it? Should i get surgery for it?

Doctor Answers 7

Treatment of atypical mole

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The description of your mole warrants excision. By the sound of your pathology report, you need a full thickness excision with 3mm margins. That's the standard of care. Call the dermatologist that did the biopsy. If they offer this type of excision, see that office. Otherwise, see a more surgically inclined dermatologist.

New York Dermatologist

Treatment of Atypical Moles (Nevi)

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For all moles that have moderate to severe atypia I recommend an excision with sutures to achieve clear margins. I also recommend that patients with a history of atypical moles do full body skin examinations every six months at a minimum.  A board-certified dermatologist will best be able to take care of the excision (surgery) and perform your twice yearly full body skin examinations.  The good news is that once this mole is properly excised with clear margins, you do not need to pursue further treatment.  

Channing R. Barnett, MD
Boca Raton Dermatologist
4.1 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Treatment of atypical nevi

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If your mole is moderately atypical I would recommend elliptical excision with clear margins.  Dysplastic or atypical nevi are controversial in the sense that it is not possible to predict whether a certain atypical mole will progress to melanoma so they are not necessarily pre-cancerous.  However they are in a spectrum of change between a regular mole and melanoma.  No one would want to leave a moderately or severely atypical mole on their body and take the risk of it turning into melanoma.


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Atypical Nevus

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Yes you should have it excised.  A nevus with moderate atypia has a higher risk for progressing to malignant melanoma, which is a very serious skin cancer.   Make sure that your biopsy was read by a dermatopathologist, not just a general pathologist.

Richard Ort, MD
Lone Tree Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

You should get surgery for it

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It is not serious... by that I mean it is not a melanoma or a skin cancer.

But, if you don't remove it, it probably has a higher chance than other (non-atypical) moles on your body to turn into a melanoma.  So just have it removed, better to be safe.

Anne Marie McNeill, MD, PhD
Newport Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Moderately Atypical Nevus with Several Focal Atypia- Do I Need Surgery?

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"Atypia" is Pathology speak for abnormal cell appearance. "Several focal atypa" means you have MULTIPLE locations in the bopsy where the cells appear abdormal. To simplify things, Pathologists are very much like baseball umpires or football officials, they get to call or declare a pathology is is often correct but occasionally it may be wrong (either false positive (over-calling it) or false negative (missing a cancer). Furthermore, keep in mind that one Pathologist's "atypia may be another Pathologists "dysplasia" or even cancer.

To paraphrase Clint: "How lucky do you feel?". Personally, I would remove this area so you would not have to worry and put it behind you.

Good Luck.

Peter A. Aldea, MD

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Excisions are necessary for atypical moles

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In my office, I will do an excision with suture closure to get clear margins for all moles that have moderate to severe atypia. We also follow all of our "atypical mole" patients by doing full skin examinations every six months. I recommend you see a board certified dermatologist for both your surgery options as well as your follow-up examinations twice yearly. As these growths are pre-cancerous, you do not need to worry once it's properly treated.

Mitchell Schwartz, MD
South Burlington Dermatologic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 13 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.