For most people, there’s nothing unusual about having moles on various parts of your body. But just because they’re common doesn’t mean you have to like them. Whether it’s for cosmetic or medical reasons, or even just physical discomfort, you might be interested in getting some of your moles removed. And that’s where the staff at Advanced Dermatology Center in Wolcott, CT can help. To learn more about how a mole removal is performed, including how long the procedure takes, read on.
How Long Does Mole Removal Take?
When it comes to safe and efficient mole removal, Dr. Jurzyk and his expert staff can employ several different techniques. All of these are simple and speedy, and while the exact length of time will vary based on the technique used and the condition of your mole, most patients are all done in under an hour.
In this time, we’ll first gather information about your mole by taking photos and measuring it. We’ll then numb the treatment area using local anesthetics so you don’t experience any discomfort. Then we’ll get to work carefully removing the mole. Patients also love that they can almost always leave our office straight after their treatment – no overnight stays required!
What Kind of Techniques Are Used to Remove Moles?
The chosen technique will depend largely on what kind of mole you have. For instance, cancerous moles require a slightly more comprehensive treatment than non-cancerous moles. All procedures are performed here in our gorgeous Wolcott office.
If a mole is cancerous, we can remove it using a technique called Moh’s surgery. In this method, your practitioner will remove all the cancerous cells whilst still preserving the healthy skin around them and ensuring minimal scarring. This is achieved thanks to special tools being used to make very precise, small incisions.
If you’re choosing to remove a mole for aesthetic or comfort purposes, then more simple, non-invasive techniques can be employed. Cautery means the mole is burnt off, while cryosurgery means they’ll be frozen off using liquid nitrogen. Don’t worry – local anesthetic will still be used so you won’t feel a thing!
After Your Treatment
Once we’ve safely removed your mole, we’ll apply a bandage to the treated area. You should be able to leave our office immediately and, amazingly, there’s very little downtime required! You can carry on with your day, whether that’s returning to work or running errands. Thanks to the use of a local anesthetic only, you can even drive yourself to and from your appointment.
We’ll recommend a few guidelines to follow so that your recovery is as quick as possible. These might involve replacing your bandage, cleaning your treated area with antibacterial wipes, or applying creams or ointments to the area. Generally, we recommend staying out of harsh and direct sunlight or at least covering your treated area with clothing when you go outside.
We’ll also ask you to avoid strenuous exercise or overheating following your treatment. We may also encourage you to take some medications that are available over the counter to speed up the healing process and offer you some relief if you’re finding your recovery uncomfortable.
Is It Time for a Mole Check?
It can be hard to know how often you should be getting your moles checked; it’s different based on the individual. For instance, if you spend a lot of time in the sun, have a history of skin cancer in your family, have a lot of moles on your body, or have suffered from sun damage in the past, you should be getting checkups more frequently, and many dermatologists recommend every six to twelve months.
Low-risk patients – those with no family or personal history of skin damage, or who spend most of their time indoors – can probably lengthen those appointments to every two years or so. While there is no “one size fits all” approach to checking moles, if you’re noticing any irregular or suspicious moles, including moles that have grown or changed shape, we recommend a mole evaluation immediately. The earlier a suspicious mole is identified, the greater your chances of successful and safe treatment will be.
During a mole check, your dermatologist or doctor will examine the moles on your body, looking for any signs that they may be cancerous or precancerous. Experts can do this thanks to years of experience and thorough training. If worrisome signs are spotted, mole removal may be recommended.
What Are the Signs of Cancerous Moles?
One of the most useful resources for identifying a cancerous mole is The American Academy of Dermatology’s “ABCDE” guidelines. If you have a mole that fits any of the following descriptions, you may want to get it evaluated professionally.
You might have noticed that moles are usually pretty unvarying, and look the same on both sides. For example, many are round. If one side of your mole has a different appearance from the other side – whether that’s a different shape, or one side is thicker, or a different color – then that’s considered unusual.
If it’s hard to tell exactly where your mole ends, as its border is undefined, blurry, or skews into an odd shape, this may be noteworthy. Benign moles usually have very defined borders.
Healthy moles are usually one consistent color, most typically brown or black. If your mole is several different shades or has changed color, this is considered irregular.
Most cancerous moles are about 6mm in diameter at the time of their diagnosis. That’s roughly the size of the eraser on a pencil. If your mole is this big or has grown that large, you may want to get it checked. It’s worth remembering this is a general guide, and sometimes cancerous moles can be smaller and still a cause for concern.
Has your mole changed size? Shape? Color? If it looks different from how it used to in pretty much any way, it’s time to have it looked at. Healthy moles are more like birthmarks in that they don’t tend to change over a lifetime.
Do You Perform Biopsies?
Here at Advanced Dermatology Center, we will perform a biopsy on a mole if we believe it’s suspicious or it looks atypical. We do this in-house by collecting a very small sample of the mole, and possibly the tissue around it.
That sample is then taken for further evaluation, likely to a lab where it can be tested for signs of cancer. We’ll get the findings back to you as soon as possible, and will be able to refer you to a specialist if we think it’s a cause for concern.
What Can I Do to Prevent Skin Cancer?
Skin cancer is a surprisingly common concern in the USA and can affect anyone. So even if you think you’re at low risk of sun damage thanks to Connecticut’s cold winters and constant cloudiness, there are still simple steps you can take to protect yourself even more! Wearing sunscreen is simple but incredibly effective; even on overcast days, UV counts can still get high and potentially damage your skin, but sunscreen protects you from those harsh rays. SPF 30 or higher is recommended.
Likewise, wearing hats and sunglasses on sunny days, and trying not to spend hours in direct sunlight, will greatly increase your chances of avoiding sun damage. Staying away from tanning beds and applying tanning oils is also highly recommended.
And of course, as mentioned above, regular mole checks are a critical part of staying on top of any potential sun damage. Even between professional checkups, you can always have a look yourself to see if any of your moles have changed.
Mole Removal for Aesthetic/Comfort Reasons
Even if a mole isn’t cancerous or a threat to your health, you may still want to get it removed. Many people don’t like the appearance of moles, particularly on the face. Sometimes moles can cause uncomfortable friction or rub against clothing, especially if they’re on parts of the body that are often covered up. Protruding moles on the face and legs make activities like shaving quite difficult and can cause nicks and bleeding, which is another reason one might choose to have them removed.
Whatever your reason, the staff at Advanced Dermatology Center will respect your choice, and work with you to decide on the best technique to effectively remove your problematic mole.
Can I Remove a Mole Myself?
Under no circumstances should you remove a mole yourself. In the case of cancerous moles, you likely won’t be able to remove all the cancerous cells. In any situation, the risks of damaging the skin or injuring yourself are too high. With a host of trained professionals at the ready here at our office, plus a speedy session no matter what kind of removal you’re getting, there’s no reason not to leave it to the experts!
Different Types of Moles
This rare mole, usually found in children and young adults, is considered a benign skin tumor and not cancerous. They can be brown or black, but also may be pinker. This is because they contain cells that produce pigment and melanin, but these cells are sometimes inactive and therefore don’t create a color. They’re often dome-shaped and most often appear on the face or limbs.
Despite being harmless, they can often look suspicious, so it’s worth getting them looked at whenever you have a skin checked. People might choose to remove them due to aesthetic reasons or for comfort reasons.
Any mole that develops on your body across your lifetime – as opposed to you being born with it – is known as an “acquired mole”. These are incredibly common, with many people developing up to 40 new moles throughout their life. It depends on your skin tone, as people with lighter skin are more likely to develop more moles than those with darker skin. Acquired moles are largely harmless and not a cause for concern.
These pigmented birthmarks appear from birth, or during the first year of life. They only occur in about 2% of the population but can be a sign that someone is more susceptible to melanoma or skin cancer.
As discussed above, any mole that falls into one of the pillars of the “ABCDE” guidelines is considered an atypical mole and should be taken seriously. If atypical moles run in your family, or you’ve found a few on your body, you should be getting a mole check immediately.
Schedule Your Consultation Today
Whether your mole is cause for a health concern, uncomfortable, or you don’t like the way it looks, Dr. Jurzyk and his highly-trained team are ready to remove it using effective and simple treatments. If you’re ready to say goodbye to your unwanted moles, book your consultation with the Advanced Dermatology Center in Wolcott, CT, today.