Common and usually harmless, a mole is an overgrowth of pigment cells in the skin which results in a raised or flat area of skin. Typically dark brown in colour, most moles are no cause for concern unless they change in colour or size, at which point doctors or skin care professionals will recommend some form of mole removal be performed.
Due to the dangers of skin cancers (in particular Melanoma), biopsies are often performed on moles to determine whether or not further action, such as removal, needs to be taken. Mole removal can also be performed for cosmetic reasons, as moles can appear on anywhere on the body – often in undesirable locations, resulting in the patient wanting them to be removed. Another reason for mole removal is if they protrude too much, causing them to easily snag on clothing and tear or become damaged. It’s often much easier to have them removed to avoid this.
Whatever the reason, deciding on having a mole removed surgically or non-surgically will depend on a number of factors which will be explored in this article.
Surgical Mole Removal
Surgical mole removal involves the mole being cut out of the skin with a scalpel by a medical professional. This is the method that is used if the mole exhibits any signs of malignancy. If you’re unsure whether a mole is dangerous or not, it’s important to consult with a medical professional.
If surgical removal is necessary, the patient will need to first have the area around the mole anesthetised and the resulting wound will require stitches – these will need removing at a later time unless the surgeon uses absorbable sutures that dissolve over time. Surgical mole removal often leaves behind a scar. How big or noticeable this will be will depend on the size of the mole removed, where it was removed from, and the level of skill of the surgeon.
Non-Surgical Mole Removal
Non-surgical mole removal isn’t exactly mole removal, but rather a form of mole treatment. Non-surgical mole treatment often involves the mole being cauterised using diathermy (electrically induced heat), helping to minimise its appearance. When radiowaves are used in place of a scalpel, only the tissue immediately adjacent to the wire electrode is affected, resulting in less chance of scarring. The recovery period after diathermy treatment is often shorter than that of surgical mole removal and no stitches are required. Another non-surgical mole removal method is laser, which uses strong light-based technology that focuses on unwanted pigment without affecting the surrounding area. Non-surgical mole treatment is a good option if the reason for wanting mole removal is purely cosmetic and the mole is not suspected to be cancerous.
If you’re thinking about having a mole removed for cosmetic reasons using a non-surgical method, you should first consult with your general practitioner and ask for their advice. They will examine the mole carefully, determining whether it’s malignant and needs to be removed surgically so it can be sent away for further testing.