Even though Moles, skin growths or skin lesions are extremely common where most people can expect to have dozens all over the body by adulthood, they can cause some patients to seek out treatment to have them removed. Moles, or nevi, are simply growths of the skin caused by skin cells growing in a cluster instead of spreading out. Since there are a variety of skin lesions that can take on a variety of colors, shapes, forms, and textures, some people choose to remove them for cosmetic reasons. However, some moles, skin lesions or skin growths can be bothersome, painful, and even dangerous. Dr. Timothy Mountcastle removes these moles, nevi, skin growth for any number of reasons. Most importantly these skin lesions are sent to a dermatopathologist to analyze via pathology to verify that there are not premalignant or malignant cells present within the suspicious lesion.
Depending on the depth, size, and location of the mole, mole removal surgery can run from the simple to the complex. Before the surgery, the treatment site will be adequately anesthetized; the surgeon will then use a scalpel to cut into the skin surrounding the mole, as well as a small border of skin around the mole. The skin will be cut (excised) carefully to remove only the minimal amount of tissue necessary. Sutures, or stitches, will be placed in the skin to close up the area.
For moles that are small or not raised or have deep roots, other methods, such as surgical shaving can be used to remove the mole. However, scalpel removal is the typical course of action for moles larger than 2 mm, those with deep roots or those that are suspicious enough for being either premalignant or malignant grossly.
These procedures are typically done in the office although occasionally a patient will request it done as an outpatient surgery in a surgery center or hospital setting if deeper anesthesia is warranted. Each of these facilities mentioned for mole removal is an accredited surgical facility. The treatment site will be numbed beforehand with a local anesthetic. Typically, the surgery takes around 15 - 30 minutes, but it can vary depending on the size, location, depth, and some moles removed. The recovery process is not an extended process and in have a low side effect profile. Most patients require little to no pain medicines after the surgery, but an occasional patient may take a Motrin or Tylenol for a day or two to relieve the typical "dull ache" or discomfort associated with the procedure. After the mole is removed, the patient can expect the treated area to be covered with a steri-strip after the surgery and after the steri-strip is removed silicone based scar creams are recommended. The surgeon will provide the patient with a scar treatment plan to minimize scarring and maximize benefits from the surgery.
Mole Removal FAQs
Why are moles removed?
Moles are commonly removed for cosmetic reasons, especially when they are large and highly visible, such as on the face. In some cases, a mole can be bothersome to the point that there’s discomfort. However, in some cases, moles can be dangerous and can be pre-cancerous or cancerous and must be removed to pathologically examine the lesion to verify its diagnosis and to maintain a patient’s health.
Will there be scarring?
Although the surgeon will take special care in placing incisions, scarring is an unfortunate part of the removal process. The best possible techniques will be used to minimize scarring, and detailed care instructions will be given to the patient to improve the appearance of the treatment site.
Does insurance cover cost?
If mole removal is associated with only cosmetic reasons, then insurance won’t cover the cost. If a mole is thought to be premalignant, cancerous, or suspicious, then the insurance carrier will typically cover the procedure. However, Costs can still vary based on deductibles, coinsurance, and copays. It is always best to check with your insurance provider before seeking treatment or call our office with size and description of the lesion, and we can call your insurance company for you to get an out of pocket cost for your procedure.
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- Recovery Time
- 30 minutes