Does Mole Removal by Electrocautery Cause Bad Scarring?

I've been self conscious of a small black-dotted mole (sharp tip of a pencil) between my eyebrows. I went to an esthetician for consultation. She recommended electrocautery and that its a minor procedure. She said either there will be no scar or that it will be very minimal. Now I understand that it will not be sent to pathology. I just wanted to know if the procedure will cause bad scarring or anything undesirable. Can anyone give me some sort of advice? Thank you very much.

Doctor Answers 7

Electrocautery is not for moles

If it is truly a mole, it should not be removed by electrocautery.  If it is something called a seborrheic keratosis, then electrocautery does work.  However, an evaluation by a dermatologist is important to determine its true identity before treatment.

Naples Dermatologic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Moles Should Never be Cauterized

I feel that it is never appropriate to use electrocautery as your primary treatment for removing a mole. Regardless of how "benign" a mole may appear, a biopsy may still reveal it to be atypical. Using electrocautery to improve the appearance of a mole will alter its look and make it more difficult to observe for precancerous changes in the future. A mole can be removed very easily using a punch biopsy technique which typically results in a minimal scar. It also has the important added benefit of having tissue to send for microscopic examination, at least for reassurance purposes. This should be evaluated and treated by a dermatologist, not an esthetician.


Mitchell Schwartz, MD
South Burlington Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Only for Derm

Always let a Dermatologist evaluate the lesion. Hopefully there will laws enforced. In some states, they are cracking down on this. There is no way anyone other than a dermatologist can evaluate this lesion. Have a dermatologist evaluate the lesion. Then have them remove it. I tiny incision with 1 suture should take care of it with minimal scarring. Absolutely DO NOT let someone removed it with cautery!

Tracy Kuykendall, MD
Tulsa Dermatologist
4.3 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Moles (nevi) should not be removed with electrocautery

Moles, particularly heavily pigmented ones, need to be removed and sent to pathology to make sure the mole is normal.  That can be done with a small punch biopsy instruments and one or two stitches.

Electrocautery does not remove moles completely, can potentially result in a scar and should not be used to remove nevi.  Other growths like keratoses or skin tags can be removed with electrocautery.  Aestheticians are not dermatologist and cannot make judgement about whether a skin lesion is benign.

Emily Altman, MD
Short Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Mole on face

Dear Space Odyssey, moles on face are removed because of "looks" or because of uncertainty about nature/behavior. Your dermatologist would be best equipped to discuss both issues with you. A punch excision & closure with 1 , or 2 stitchse would give an excellent result, specially in the area between the brows. another option is a laser that targets black/brown color.

Khaled El-Hoshy, MD
Detroit Dermatologic Surgeon

Small flat black moles are easy to remove.

Most black uniform tiny flat moles can be removed by excision and heal great under local anesthesia.  Electrocautery will usually lighten them up so as not to be so dark and can be done monthly until lightened up sufficiently but you should have a doc do it.  Sincerely,

David Hansen,MD

David Hansen, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Have a dermatologist evaluate the "mole"

I would not recommend having an aesthetician remove a "mole" with electrocautery.  the more prudent thing to do would be to have a dermatologist evaluate the skin lesion, let you know exactly what it is, and then tell you the best method to remove it if it is cosmetically undesirable. If is has enlarged, changed color, become asymmetric or has started looking a bit different than other skin lesions on your face, then it should be removed and be evaluated by a fellowship trained skin pathologist (dermatopathologist).

Thomas W. Bender, III MD
Mobile Dermatologic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 4 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.