What is a Mole?

Many people refer to a mole as any dark spot or irregularity in the skin. Doctors use different terms. But the following types of skin marks such as these are not treated the same way moles are and are not discussed here:

  • Birthmarks
  • Abnormal formations of blood vessels (hemangiomas)
  • Keratoses (benign or precancerous spots, which appear after about age 30 years)

Facts on Mole Removal

Moles, or nevi, are frequently removed for a variety of reasons. They can be removed by two surgical methods:

  • Excision (cutting), with or without stitches
  • Shave removal using a scalpel blade without stitches

Although laser excision has been tried for moles, it is not the method of choice for most deep moles because the laser light doesn't penetrate deeply enough, and there is no tissue remaining to examine pathologically.

Typically, the dermatologist (a skin specialist) may choose excision with or without stitches, depending on the depth of the mole and the type of cosmetic outcome desired.

Risks of Mole Removal

Risks of mole removal methods vary from infection to rare anesthetic allergy and very rare nerve damage. It is always prudent to choose a dermatologist or surgeon with appropriate skills and experience with these removals. This will decrease the risks associated with this procedure.

  • Other risks vary depending on the area being treated and the method of removal.
  • One of the most common difficulties after mole removal is a scar. Many people will attempt to remove moles for cosmetic reasons, not realizing that each removal will result in a scar. Many times your surgeon can give you an idea of the type of scar after mole removal before you make your decision about removal.