How Safe is It to "Tie Off" a Raised Mole?

I have a VERY raised mole on my neck the size of a pencil eraser, that has been there ever since I can remember. It has never changed size, color, shape. The mole is dark brown in color but has a flat "neck" much like a skin tag - it is as tall as it is in diameter. I did some research and decided to remove it at home by tying it off with dental floss, similar in technique to a livestock castration. I am not concerned about scarring. Are there serious risks to this that I should be aware of?

Doctor Answers 8

See a dermatologist or plastic surgeon to have moles removed.

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Moles that are growing or changing could be cancerous. A dermatologist is the best trained physician to evaluate moles that may need removal. Highly skilled dermatologic surgeons or plastic surgeons are the best trained physicians to remove moles properly with the best cosmetic result.

Salt Lake City Dermatologic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 18 reviews


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i would definitely recommend a physician to look at it to determine if you need a biospy.  it can be done simply and quickly with minimal scarring  GL

Michael K. Kim, MD
Fort Myers Plastic Surgeon

How Safe is It to "Tie Off" a Raised Mole?

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Tying off the mole my get rid of most of it but there is still some left at the base and since we don't know the nature of this, it is best to have it shaved by a surgeon so that it can be examined and no scar is left.

Mohsen Tavoussi, MD, DO
Orange County Facial Plastic Surgeon

Tying off a mole is not safe at all !

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See your dermatologist to have it removed since you won't be able to tell if it is a mole, a pigmented skin tag, cutaneous horn or filiform wart etc...  They can get infected very easily if you try tying it off and may bleed a lot as well.  Cost is going to be around $150-200 but it is worth doing it right.  Sincerely,

David Hansen,MD

David Hansen, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

"Tying off" the top a mole can cause scarring.

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Moles, also known as nevi, grow from the deep layers of the skin. Although taking off the "top" by tying or another method may improve appearance, it will cause scarring that can change the ability to tell if the mole is having any cancerous changes. All pigmanted nevi have melanocytes, (the cells that make pigment), in them, and monitoring pigmented nevi by periodic physical examination is an important way of checking to make sure they do not show changes that are suspicious for melanoma development.

  If the appearance of a mole is of concern, the best way to improve it is usually a "full-thickness" excision, (with stitches). Shave excisions will remove the mole but, can leave a "white spot" from the normal pigment being removed, and it is controversial in those cases where a malignancy may be found as it reduces the ability to predict how invasive the lesion is. Full thickness excisions performed by Plastic Surgeons place the incisions in a way that they heal to a fine line that should be minimally noticeable.

Best Regards,

Debra Iirzarry

Debra Irizarry, MD
Crestone Plastic Surgeon

Tying off a Raised Mole

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As pointed out by the other doctors, tying off a skin growth is not a good option. Best to see a dermatologist so that the lesion can be evaluated and surgically removed and sent for pathology (to make sure that it is benign and not a skin cancer). In addition, having a doctor remove the lesion will likely give you less risk of infection and also speed the healing process. Finally, the doctor might choose another option (e.g. cryotherapy) to remove the lesion, but first, a doctor skilled in determining whether the lesion needs to be removed surgically and sent for pathology needs to evaluate the lesion. Best option, see a dermatologist board certified by the American Board of Dermatology.

Andrew Kaufman, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Tying Off a Mole

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When a mole (nevus) is removed, it is always important that it is sent for microscopic examination, regardless of how "benign" it looks. If this truly is a mole, rather than a large skin tag, you should be evaluated and treated by your dermatologist. Typically, the growth can easily be removed by doing a shave excision at the time of your initial visit. In the technique of doing a shave excision, the mole is actually "shaved off" at a very superficial level just below the surface of the skin. This method is quite effective to remove moles and leaves a minimal scar. The procedure typically takes less than a minute, and is fairly painless.

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

Recommend against tying off a "mole"

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I do not recommend tying off a "mole."  Most importantly, I would seek the help of a board certified dermatologist who can provide a diagnosis to your neck lesion.  If it is a mole that is raised, the dermatologist may elect to remove it with a shave biopsy technique in which the mole is anesthetized and removed flat with the skin.  The mole can then be sent to the pathologist for histological evaluation and the biopsy site will heal in approximately one to two weeks.

Anthony Perri, MD
Houston Dermatologist

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.