Mole Removal w/ Stitches - Scarring?

I have a mole on my right lower cheek about the diameter of a pencil eraser. It's raised a bit but not a lot. I am getting it removed by a plastic surgeon in a couple months but I am really worried about the scarring. The method is with stitches. Will there be a lot of scarring? Will it look worse than having the mole on my face?

Doctor Answers 11

Cutting out a mole and using stitches to close the wound will leave a scar

Cutting out a mole and using stitches to close the wound will leave a scar. Since beauty is in the eye of the beholder one cannot say whether a patient will prefer having a mole or a scar.

Chicago Dermatologist
2.8 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Mole removal

If the lesion is completely surgically excised, there will be scarring.  As a board certified facial plastic surgeon, it is our goal to make the scar look as good as it can.  Ultimately, you will have to decide whether or not you are willing to trade in the mole for a scar. 

Sam Naficy, MD, FACS
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 221 reviews

Scar after mole removal

Typically a scar after a well-done scar removal is much better looking than the mole itself.  If performed properly, the mature scar (about 3-6 months out) should be smooth and flush with the level of your skin.  What you want to avoid is for the mature scar to become depressed (dented in), which can result from inadequate suture techniques.  Make sure your surgeon is experienced and meticulous so that you can obtain the best result possible.

Thomas T. Le, MD
Baltimore Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 57 reviews

Mole Removal

You are trading in the mole for a scar. Only you can determine which is more aesthetically pleasing. A well trained  board certified facial plastic surgeon or plastic surgeon has experience in how to best minimize scaring, Best wishes!

Michael Sullivan, MD
Columbus Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 88 reviews

Worried about the scars ?

Are you having the mole removed  because it is suspicious for skin cancer? That is what I think of whenever the phrase " the diameter of a pencil eraser" comes up. We dermatologists use that 6mm guide as one of the criteria for suspecting that a "mole" is really a malignant melanoma. The fact that your surgery is scheduled "in a couple of months" makes me hope that that is NOT what the surgery is for. If no one suspects skin cancer, then you may just want to keep the mole since you are used to seeing it. You may or may not like the scar that will be caused by removing the mole.

If it continues to grow or if it changes, then you won't  have to worry about which one you would whether have!  Good luck  to you.

Beverly Johnson, MD
Silver Spring Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Mole removal will leave a scar

Removing any skin lesion will likely leave a scar.  A mole can be cut out, shaved off, or burned off.  Cutting it out will have the best chance of making sure it does not come back, and it will allow your surgeon to send it to a pathologist who will examine it under a microscope to make sure it's nothing dangerous and that it has been removed completely.
Burning it off with an electrocautery will leave a perhaps less obvious scar but it does not guarantee that deeper components have also been removed.  Unfortunately this method does not leave a sample to be sent to a pathologist for an examination under a microscope.  For that reason this should be done only when there is no concern about lesion whatsoever.
Martin Jugenburg, MD

Martin Jugenburg, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 457 reviews

Skin Scarring with Mole Removal

Unfortunately any time that you cut the skin you will have a scar. Generally when these are made surgically they are minimal. Without an examination it is impossible to say if the scar will be less visible than your original mole.

D.J. Verret, MD
Dallas Facial Plastic Surgeon
3.9 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Mole Removal and Scarring

There are different methods of removing moles depending upon size and location. Dermatologic surgeons are skin specialists who use many different methods of mole removal to minimize scars so I recommend you get a second opinion from a board certified dermatologist.

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

Scars after mole removal

Any way a mole is removed, there will be some sort of a scar.

In order to remove a mole appropriately, it does need to be done with stitches.  There are usually two components to a raised mole, above the skin and below the skin. If the mole is removed just by shaving it off the surface of the skin, the component left below can recur, either as another flesh-colored mole or a pigmented spot.  That will still leave a scar, a flat round one.

When a mole is removed with stitches, the scar can be oriented along a skin tension lines to minimize the scar appearance.

However, it is impossible to answer your question about will the scar look better than a mole.  In this case the decision is all yours.  If the mole is benign and you are removing it for cosmetic purposes, it is up to you to decide which you prefer.

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

Mole removal

Removing the mole will leave a scar and the hope is that it would look better than having the mole.  The scar will take several months to fade and scarring on the face usually settles very well but this can't be guarantee.

I agree with Dr Rand, you should have this discussion with your surgeon.

Jonathan J. Staiano, FRCS (Plast)
Birmingham Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 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.