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A mole (also known as a nevi or a beauty mark) is a very common type of skin growth. Some moles exist since birth, while others develop later in life. Most people have 10 to 40 moles, many of which develop by age 50. Over time, they can fade or change the way they look. Most moles are benign. In extremely rare cases, they become cancerous. It’s important to keep an eye on them to help detect skin cancer, especially malignant melanoma. Unlike congenital moles (present from birth) and acquired moles (round moles developed later in life without substantial changes as you age), atypical moles are the ones to look out for, as they have a higher likelihood of becoming cancerous. They’re somewhat bigger and have irregular shapes.
Moles are clumps of pigment cells called melanocytes. They are harmless spots that can develop anywhere on the body. They are also sometimes called beauty marks. They could be brown, tan, pink, or sometimes even blue. There is no specific time for them to develop, and it can happen at any time.
At TMSC, we fully understand how a simple mole can be a huge concern. It could be a cosmetic concern, or it could be cancerous. Our surgeons perform mole removal surgery and give you peace of mind. Our surgeons do not believe in cookie-cutter surgeries. Their goal is to remove the mole while keeping the scarring to a minimum. They work with you to find the best possible solution that is unique to you.
Appearance: Most are oval and round; in terms of texture, they may be smooth, wrinkled, flat or raised
Size: Quite small (less than 6 millimeters wide); in rare cases, they’re much bigger since birth
Colour: Most are brown in colour, but they can also be red, pink, tan, and black
Location: Anywhere on the body
Additional symptoms: Some moles have hairs growing out of them
Moles are caused due to clusters or clumps of pigmented cells (melanocytes). These cells, which are distributed throughout your skin, create melanin and give the skin its natural colour. If moles are developed in adulthood, the cause is often sun exposure and effects on melanin production. Common causes of changes in moles’ appearance (ie. darkening and enlargement) include sun exposure, pregnancy, and puberty.
However, it’s important to keep an eye on them to help detect skin cancer, especially atypical moles which are shaped irregularly and are slightly larger in size than regular moles.
Use the ABCDE guide on what to be on the lookout for to help detect skin cancers such as melanoma:
Note: It is a myth that the removal of all moles prevents skin cancer.
Benign moles don’t need treatment.
Mole removals are often completed during the initial appointment. In order to remove an unwanted or suspicious mole, your surgeon will either use shaving or surgical excision, which consists of a direct incision over the mole, a surgical extraction, and finally the stitching of skin. Local anesthetic is used to numb the area during the procedure, and after the initial sting of the injection, the procedure will be 100% painless.
Note: It’s dangerous to remove moles at home on your own.
When you come for your initial consultation, our surgeon will measure the mole, map it, photograph it and conduct a complete skin exam. When the surgery is about to start, he sterilizes the mole using alcohol. Then he will numb the area with local anesthesia. You might feel a slight sting, but that is it. There will be no more discomfort or pain during the procedure. Usually, our surgeon performs the procedure within the hour. Still, it depends on the mole’s size and the technique that the surgeon uses, and it will depend on the size of the mole, the colour, whether it’s flat or raised, and the area where it is located.
If the mole is flat, the surgeon might choose to do a punch excision. They will place a sharp cylindrical device on top of the mole. The device will remove a round plug of tissue, including the mole. If the mole is less than 1mm, our surgeon might allow it to heal independently. If the mole is more prominent, they might use sutures to close it.
If you have a raised, light-coloured mole, our surgeon might choose to do a shave excision. It is also called shave removal. They will use a sharp scalpel to shave the outermost layers of the mole. It could go deeper, but that will depend on the purpose of the removal and the mole’s location. Usually, there is a fifty-fifty chance that the mole might grow back in several years. There will be slight bleeding, but nothing that requires stitches. Our surgeon will place a small bandage over the area to help it heal quickly.
Suppose the mole is potentially cancerous, bumpy, or dark; they will use a scalpel to cut the mole and some surrounding area in an elliptical shape. Our board-certified plastic surgeon will make sure to remove the mole with minimal scarring. Once done, they will sew the skin back together. According to studies, this is the most cost-effective solution to mole removal. It also has the least amount of post-operative hypopigmentation.
Scarring is an inevitable outcome of mole removal. However, the board certified surgeons at TMSC meticulously work to make the scar as tiny and unnoticeable as possible. Shortly after the surgery, the scar is typically pink or red, and eventually fades to a thin light mark that is often unnoticeable to the naked eye. In rare instances when the patient is not happy with the final outcome, we do specialize in scar improvement as well.
Our surgeons are highly trained and experienced professionals who care deeply about their patients. Rest assured all of our procedures are carried out with the utmost care, precision, regard for aesthetics, and in a safe environment.
When you come to TMSC for your initial consultation with one of our surgeons, they inspect your mole to ensure it is not cancerous. They then advise you on the best possible mode of treatment. Moles can often appear due to fluctuation in the hormones. Moles occur mainly during puberty or pregnancy. If the mole is benign, there is no harm in leaving it unless it presents a cosmetic problem.
Moles can be removed if they are cancerous (melanoma) or present with a cosmetic problem. Most moles are removed through surgery, cut out via punch excision, or the doctor could use a scalpel to shave them off. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, and our surgeons make sure to let all their patients know this. The perfect mole removal method depends on the location and size of the mole and the patient’s age.
There are a lot of benefits to mole removal surgery. Our surgeon has performed numerous mole removal surgeries over their illustrious careers. Firstly, the surgery is quick and straightforward, and there is no pain or downtime; you can go back to your routine activities immediately. Secondly, our surgeons can perform a biopsy on the mole after they remove it to find out whether it is cancerous or not. Did you know, early removal of a cancerous mole can save your life?
It doesn’t matter where the mole is; our surgeons can easily remove it and ensure that the scar is well hidden. For example, even if the mole is around the lips, it can heal perfectly as our surgeons will place the scar in the crease along the border of the lip.
Our surgeons inform all their patients that even though the scar for a mole removal surgery is minor and virtually invisible, it is still there. Our surgeons perform the surgery so that the scar is barely visible. But, depending on the area, it could be a little awkward. For example, if the scar is on the face, you might need to cover it with a bandage for a few days. Our surgeons make sure to tell all their patients that proper wound care is essential for a scar to heal properly. If you have any doubts or questions, make sure to discuss them with your surgeon during your initial consultation.
Most people are good candidates for mole removal surgery; this is especially true if you are concerned about its aesthetics. If you are worried about how the mole makes you look and how it catches on clothing and jewelry, you are a good candidate. If you think the mole could be cancerous, we encourage you to come in for a consultation with one of our board-certified plastic surgeons. Make sure to tell the surgeon if you have ever had any issues with blood clotting or healing.
The price of mole removal varies depending on various factors. These factors include who is performing the surgery (dermatologist, plastic surgeon, or general practitioner), the mole’s size, area, shape, and type.
Melanoma is one of the rarest but also the most dangerous type of skin cancer. If you have large, irregular moles or moles that change shape, it is best if you get it checked out by a dermatologist. These moles might have the following characteristics: One half doesn’t look like the other, it has a poorly defined or irregular border, it contains a variety of colours, it is more significant than 6mm, or it has changed in size shape or colour.
Do not take mole removal as a DIY project. It has to be done by an experienced and skilled dermatologist or plastic surgeon. There are remedies that you can try at home, but most of them are not worth it. It is more cost-effective and efficient to have it removed by a certified plastic surgeon. Do not try to cut the mole out with a knife. You run the risk of infection, bleeding, and scarring. Also, please don’t try to burn it off with hydrogen peroxide. These solutions damage your skin, and the mole remains the same.
A mole removal surgery does not have any downtime. Just make sure that you don’t irritate the area while it is healing. Our surgeon places a bandage over the area after the surgery to keep it safe. They might ask you not to shower for 48 hours after the surgery and be careful doing any activity that might disturb the area. For example, if the mole was on your back, our surgeon might stop you from performing upper-body exercises for some time. They will also tell you to protect the area from the Sun. Scars can darken and become more noticeable if exposed to the Sun for a long time.
The results are immediate as the mole is removed entirely. However, the scarring can take some time, even up to a year, to heal and look normal.