In a best-case scenario, moles are annoying dark spots on your skin that you wish would disappear to give you a smooth, blemish-free complexion. In a worst-case scenario, moles can be cancerous and lead to serious health risks if they are not removed. Either way, our professional team at Advanced Dermatology Center in Wolcott, CT, is experienced at helping our patients achieve their ideal image through mole removal as well as identifying and biopsying suspicious moles to preserve your health and peace of mind.
What Is Mole Removal?
Mole removal, which is different than mole biopsy, is designed to completely remove moles from the skin in a way that minimizes scarring and creates a smooth, discreet finish. Moles are categorized as brown or black skin growths caused by the clustering of skin pigment cells, called melanocytes. They can be raised or flat and occur anywhere on the body.
Using a variety of different techniques, we can safely and effectively remove moles from any location. This process is virtually painless for nearly all of our patients thanks to local anesthetic, and your recovery requires zero downtime. Best of all, removing a mole is a permanent solution to this common cosmetic concern when performed by a skilled and experienced doctor.
While you should continue to visit your dermatologist regularly to keep your skin healthy and check on any remaining moles, the growths targeted during this quick and easy treatment should not regrow, leaving your skin looking better than ever and giving you a significant confidence boost.
While one of the main benefits of mole removal is aesthetic, our main concern is always your long-term health. Moles can become cancerous and, if this condition is not diagnosed quickly, the affected cells can spread to other parts of the body. Mole removal can prevent the spread of cancerous and pre-cancerous cells and address your cosmetic concerns in one simple procedure.
Results for the majority of patients are permanent, and our patients find that they are able to enjoy life to the fullest after the removal of a noticeable or suspicious mole. This treatment is able to be performed on any patient, skin type, and skin tone, and while those with lighter skin may be more prone to moles, it’s important for everyone to take care of their skin with regular check-ups.
When you choose to pursue treatment at our office, our team is committed to your health and wellness and will recommend the best treatment options for your unique situation.
How Can I Tell If a Mole Might Be Cancerous?
In the dermatology world, we urge our patients to follow the “ABCDE” model of identifying possibly cancerous moles. It’s important to regularly examine your skin for moles that fit one or more of these descriptions and take note of any moles which change over time.
Look at your mole. If one section of the mole has a different shape, color, or appearance from the rest of the mole, you should let your dermatologist know.
Most normal moles have a clear, regularly shaped border. If your mole has an irregular border or shape or is not clearly defined from the rest of your skin, you should have your doctor examine it.
Your mole should not include different colors or different shades of the same color. This could be a sign that something is wrong, and your doctor should take a look at it during your next appointment.
In general, concerning moles grow to a size of 6mm or larger. If you notice a larger mole, you should alert your doctor. However, a smaller mole that exhibits some of the other symptoms of a cancerous mole should also be examined.
Any mole that changes over time should be examined by your doctor. Evolutions in color, shape, and size could mean that the cells are pre-cancerous or cancerous, and your mole should be biopsied and removed as soon as possible.
What Is the Difference Between a Biopsy and a Removal?
A mole biopsy involves one of our doctors taking a small sample of a mole’s cells by gently shaving the surface of the mole and the surrounding skin with a sharp scalpel. This procedure is performed in our office with local anesthetic and takes just a few minutes. The resulting sample is examined in order to determine whether the cells are normal or show signs of cancer.
Removal can be performed for aesthetic or medical reasons, or a combination of both. Our doctor works carefully to ensure that all of the mole’s cells are removed. If cells are left over after treatment, a mole can regrow or, even more seriously, cancerous cells from a mole can spread to other areas. You’ll return to our office for post-removal check-ups in order for our doctors to check your progress, and we always recommend that our patients have at least one general appointment per year to keep their skin healthy and monitor their moles.
What Are the Different Types of Removal Techniques?
Although moles can seem small and insignificant, it’s crucial to seek care from a trained doctor when pursuing mole removal. Never attempt to remove a mole at home, which is ineffective and can lead to injury. If a mole is determined to be cancerous, our doctors use the Moh’s surgery technique, which clears all cancerous cells while preserving the surrounding skin as much as possible.
For benign or non-cancerous moles, we can employ cautery, which safely burns the mole from the skin, or cryosurgery, which freezes the mole and causes it to fall off. Whichever technique we use, we always administer local anesthetic to ensure your comfort during your appointment.
What Should I Expect?
If you’re considering removing one or more of your moles, our dedicated staff is ready to walk with you through this process. Here’s a general idea of what you can expect when you pursue treatment at our office:
Before you receive treatment, we sit down with you for an initial consultation. This appointment allows us to examine your skin and take note of any moles that may be candidates for biopsy or removal. Our doctor may recommend collecting samples for a biopsy during this appointment if they notice any concerning moles. They will also review your medical history, especially any previous experience with cancerous moles, and explain in detail the process of removing your moles and what you can expect during recovery.
Once you are approved for treatment, you will be given instructions to follow before your appointment. The most important thing we recommend is staying out of the sun as much as possible to minimize irritation and damage from harmful UV rays. As you follow these instructions, you can begin looking forward to your appointment!
On the day of your appointment, we recommend not wearing any makeup if the target area is on your face or neck. Your doctor will administer a local anesthetic, which typically takes just a few minutes to numb the area. Then, depending on the type of mole and the removal technique required, your doctor will excise, burn, or freeze the area. You may feel minimal pressure, but you should feel no discomfort thanks to the anesthetic. Removal usually takes less than 10 minutes.
Once your doctor has completely removed your mole, they may place several stitches to help the healing process. They will bandage the treated area and give you instructions to follow during your recovery. You’ll most likely return in 1-2 weeks for a follow-up examination to ensure that the area is healing well. You’ll be able to return to your normal activities immediately thanks to the quick and minimally invasive nature of this procedure. However, you may choose to have 1-2 days of social downtime if your mole was removed from a noticeable area.
You may notice some mild tenderness in the treated area for the first 1-4 days after your mole removal. This is normal and typically subsides as the skin begins to heal. You should plan to keep the treatment site clean and covered with a bandage for 1-2 days to protect the area. After this time, you can remove the bandage and continue to keep the area clean and moisturized. Your doctor will inspect the area 1-2 weeks after your appointment to check on your healing progress.
Removing a mole, especially a cancerous or pre-cancerous mole that can require a deeper excision, comes with the possibility of scarring. However, there are several ways you can help your skin heal and minimize scarring. First, you should avoid touching or stretching the treated area as much as possible to keep the skin tight and undisturbed as it heals. You should also avoid the sun, which can damage the healing area, and always wear sunscreen when you spend time outside.
Once about 2 weeks have passed and any stitches are removed, you can gently massage the scar, being careful not to disturb any scab which has formed. Using gentle pressure and a nourishing lotion can help invigorate the skin and encourage collagen production, which aids in healing. Finally, once your skin is fully healing–which can take up to 1 year after treatment–one of our doctors would be happy to help you decide on a skin rejuvenating treatment that could further minimize and fade any scar which develops.
Most treated sites heal completely in less than a month, although a larger or deeper incision could take 4-6 weeks to heal. After this time, you should continue to protect the area from the sun and may wish to explore scar fading treatments. However, the vast majority of our patients find that any scar created by removal fades naturally over the first year as the skin heals. Once your final results are visible, you should see no evidence of your mole. In most cases, you’ll be able to enjoy your newly smooth skin permanently.
Am I an Ideal Candidate?
If you’re unhappy with the appearance of a mole or are concerned that an irregularly shaped or colored mole may be cancerous, you are likely the perfect candidate for mole removal. This treatment option is safe and effective for most patients regardless of age, skin type, or skin tone.
Male and female patients have benefitted from quick, painless removal on any part of the body with zero downtime and easy, straightforward recovery time. If you have questions about your candidacy, one of our doctors can help you determine whether this treatment is right for you during your initial consultation.
Contact Us to Learn More!
If you’re ready to learn more about how mole removal can help you achieve your aesthetic goals and keep your skin healthy, contact the experts at Advanced Dermatology Center in Wolcott, CT to schedule an initial consultation today! We look forward to serving you!