Mole Removal - Scraping Method?

I have a slightly raised mole the size of a pencil rubber on my cheek. It is not cancerous, but I wanted it removed. The doctor said she could remove it by the scraping method, but I am worried it is not raised enough to do this, and may grow back or leave a scar worse than the mole. When I rub my fingers over my cheek I can barely feel it is there, and I had always considered it rather flat, until the doctor said it was slightly raised. I would appreciate some advice on this. Thanks.

Doctor Answers 4

Scrape VS. Excise

To scrape or excise if the lesion is a mole shaving (tangential excision) may not remove all cells and it can recur. If the lesion is superficial (keratosis) scraping can be effective.

Brampton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Scalpel "Sculpting" Is An Excellent Method for Stitchles Removal of Moles

Although the phrase "scraping method" is imprecise, I am guessing that your doctor was referring to "scalpel sculpting."  This is a method of removing moles (sometimes called "beauty marks" or "birth marks") in which the scalpel blade is oriented horizontally and the mole is excised by "sculpting" it off at its base in such a way that it preserves the contours of the surrounding skin. Unlike traditional excisional surgery, no sutures are required and healing occurs on its own with 10-14 days. Scalpel sculpting is ideal for growths that project well above the skin surface.

The downside of scalpel sculpting  is that, since, by intent, the root of the mole is left within the skin, there is a chance of recurrence and/or repigmentation. Fortunately, should this occur, it is relatively simple at a later date to touch the surface with an electric needle or radiowaves to blanch the pigment and flatten the area.

Since the skin is not penetrated to any appreciable depth, the risk of signifcantly perceptible scarring is reduced substantially with this method. (Vertical scalpel cuts into the depth of the skin, by contrast with scalpel sculpting, invariably result in at least some degree of perceptible scarring).

When a growth is only minimally elevated, as in this case, scalpel sculpting is a bit more tricky to perform. I find that plumping up the mole sufficiently with local aneshetic allows, even in these cases, a relatively horizontal cut to be performed that results in a gratifying outcome.

Nelson Lee Novick, MD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Scraping and Shaving Moles

Are you confusing scraping with shaving??

Scraping===no good

Shaving ===affords  a  specimen for the lab to be analysed

Jeffrey S. Lauber, MD
Newport Beach Dermatologist

Moles should not be removed by a scraping method

Presuming it is a mole made up of melanocytes (a melanocytic nevus), it most likely has a portion above the surface of the skin and a portion below the surface of the skin.  Shaving it off the surface (or scraping) would not remove the entire thing.  It may grow back or it may just repigment, that is become darker.

Of course, removing a mole by excision will leave a linear scar, but shaving it off the surface of the skin will leave a flat scar the size of the mole itself.

If it is a seborrheic keratosis, then scraping or shaving it off the surface of the skin is a perfectly legitimate way of removing it.

Whichever way you remove it, if the cut is below the very superficial layers of the skin it may leave a scar.  There really is no way of doing scarless surgery.

Emily Altman, MD
Short Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 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.