At his practice in Wolcott, CT, Dr. Jurzyk uses safe, conservative techniques to evaluate and remove moles for both medical and cosmetic reasons, as well as moles located in areas that make them prone to abrasion and bleeding.
Mole Removal Q&A
What is a mole?
A mole is a brownish skin growth, usually no larger than a pencil eraser, that develops when the skin’s pigment cells, melanocytes, grow in a clustered configuration. Moles can be flat or raised and can appear anywhere on the body. Most moles are harmless, but in some cases, they can be cancerous.
How can I tell if a mole might be cancerous?
The only way to know for sure if a mole is cancerous or not is to have it evaluated. The American Academy of Dermatology offers the “ABCDE” guidelines for determining if a mole should be evaluated:
- Asymmetry – One half of the mole has a different appearance from the other half.
- Border – The edges of the mole are irregular in shape or not clearly defined.
- Color – The color of the mole is not consistent, but includes different shades.
- Diameter – Most cancerous moles are 6mm or greater when diagnosed, but they can be smaller.
- Evolving – The mole’s size, shape, color or other characteristics change over time.
What if a mole looks suspicious?
If a mole appears unusual, a small sample of the mole and the tissue around it may be removed (biopsied) for further evaluation. Biopsies are performed in the office using a local anesthetic.
How is a mole removed?
If a mole is cancerous, it can be removed in the office using a local anesthetic and a technique called Moh’s surgery, which ensures all the cancerous cells are removed while ensuring as much healthy skin is preserved as possible. Never remove a mole yourself. Non-cancerous moles can be removed using cautery (burning them off) or cryosurgery (freezing them off with liquid nitrogen). Both techniques use local anesthetics to prevent discomfort.