What to Expect for Scar After Mole Removal?

My 13 year old daughter has a mole on her chin. If surgically removed, how much of a scar can she expect and what are chances of it going away?

Doctor Answers 5

Scar after mole removal

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The scar after mole removal depends on numerous things including the skill of the physician, technique used (shave vs. deep excision with stitches), healing ability of the patient, size and depth of the mole, etc.

Your dermatologist can best determine the type of scar after examining the mole. The scar will continue to improve for up to 2 years after the surgery. Generally, older patients heal much better than younger patients.

Toronto Dermatologic Surgeon

Scar after mole removal on 13-year old's chin

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There are two possible methods for surgically "removing" the mole. The first is a flat shave removal, which would leave the root of the mole underneath the surface of her skin (to potentially slowly regrow, but not necessarily), but leave a flat, nondistorting scar that might have the potential to heal extremely well, especially for short-term purposes.

The second method is a small elliptical excision which would remove the entire mole including the root, but would leave a linear surgical scar, which is a bit unpredictable in its final healed appearance. The length and width of the scar is affected largely by the size and location of the original mole. A smaller mole in an area with less daily movement or tension would leave a thin line unlikely to spread or stay red. A larger mole in a mobile area would have a chance of leaving a more visible scar. Much of this has also to do with your daughter's own skin and healing style. It is not totally predictable.

In the hands of a careful dermatologic or plastic surgeon, the outcome can be good either way, but there is little reason not to do the shave first, and see how it heals. If you are not pleased with it, the more risky excision can be performed later.

Either way, laser would not be appropriate for removal in any circumstances.

Jessica J. Krant, MD, MPH
New York Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

How To Prevent Scarring After Mole Removal

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One of the most common difficulties after mole removal is a scar. Often times, patients want to remove a mole for cosmetic reasons and do not realize that the removal will result in a scar. The type of scar often depends on the site of the removal, the age of the patient, the skill level of the surgeon and the aftercare of the wound. Several studies have shown that wounds heal faster with salve and scarring is minimized. It is important to apply plain vaseline to the removal site 2-3x/day for 2-3 weeks after treatment.  I tell patients to avoid antibiotic ointments, which can cause allergic reactions, and topical scar creams, such as Vitamen E during the healing process.

Miriam Hanson, MD
Austin Dermatologist

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Minimal scar after mole removal

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Any surgical incision will leave a scar, and the larger the mole, the larger the scar.  Achieving he best possible scar requires careful planning, meticulous technique, and extensive experience.  Visit a local qualified facial plastic surgeon or cosmetic dermatologist to discuss your daughter's specific needs.

Hope this helps.

Jason Lichtenberger, MD
Bellingham Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Mole Removals Can Be Quick, Simple and Gratifying

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Scalpel Sculpting is an excellent method, particularly for removing growths elevated above the skin surface. I have used it for removing facial moles on both my seven and eleven year olds.  Immediately following the administration of a small amount of local anesthetic just beneath the spot, the doctor uses a scalpel to remove it with a horizontal, back and forth, “sawing” motion of the scalpel blade that essentially “sculpts” the undesirable area away from the surrounding normal skin. The wound underneath is left to heal by itself. Since the cut is so superficial, no sutures (stitches) are needed, and there is little risk of scarring. The cosmetic result is generally excellent, and the whole procedure takes literally under five minutes. 

Sculpting procedures generally run between $150-$350 for each area, depending upon the size, the exact method used, and the location of the lesion.

Following the procedure, healing typically follows the course of any ordinary wound, such as a skinned knee. A scab usually forms within the first 48 to 72 hours that eventually falls off sometime between days 14 and 21. Although the wound site is entirely healed by this time, there is usually a pinkish/purplish discoloration that remains temporarily, eventually fading sometime between four weeks and twelve weeks afterward. During this period, the site will ordinarily pass through a series of additional color changes that range from dark brown to fawn colored before returning to normal flesh color.

Because the procedure is so simple, numerous moles can removed in the same sitting.  I have, in fact, removed as many as seventeen moles from a young woman’s face at one time in about half an hour. However, when that many are done at once, it is important to warn the patient that immediately afterward, and until the wound sites completely heal, they will appear as though they had an outbreak of acne.

For this reason, many people who have numerous unsightly facial growths opt to have them removed over a period of several sessions. When only three or four are done at once, it is easier to adequately mask them with coverup cosmetics until all the color changes of the healing phase are gone.

Nelson Lee Novick, MD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 33 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.