Plastic Surgery Blog

San francisco - East bay

what to know about mole removal

Why May I Need to Get a Mole Removed?

A mole is a typical skin growth. You probably have one or more moles on your face and body. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, most people have between 10 and 40 moles on their skin. They can be flat or raised and appear anywhere on the body.

What Is a Mole?

Moles are usually black or brown and can appear in groups or alone on your skin. Caused by the clustering of skin pigment cells, they typically appear in early childhood and the first 25 years of an individual’s life. Over time, moles usually change color and size. Sometimes, hairs start developing in the mole—or gradually disappear or do not change at all.

Mole Removal

A mole removal procedure is different from a mole biopsy. Mole removal aims to remove a mole or moles from your skin to create a smooth finish while minimizing scarring. Are you considering having a mole removed? If so, here are some questions to ask before the procedure.

  • Is It Necessary to Have Moles Removed?

In most cases, choosing whether to have a mole removed is entirely up to you. But if it shows any signs of being cancerous, your dermatologist will recommend removal. To identify suspicious moles, consider the ABCDE rules.

Asymmetry: One side of the mole looks different from the other.

Border: The border of your mole is poorly defined or irregular.

Color: The mole has shades of more than one color.

Diameter: The mole is more than 6 mm in diameter.

Evolving: The mole is changing color, size, or shape.

Sometimes, you may not necessarily have to get atypical moles removed. Some benign moles break the rules listed above. Nevertheless, it would be best to ask your dermatologist to evaluate any suspicious moles to check for cancer.

  • What Is the Best Mole Removal Technique for Large or Raised Moles?

Specialists typically recommend shaving excision for raised or large moles. They will inject the treatment area with an anesthetic before shaving the mole with a surgical blade. A shave excision can be deep or superficial. If your mole is benign, the specialist will shave it down to the level of the surrounding skin. If it looks suspicious, it will require a cauterization biopsy or deep shave excision.

  • Does Mole Removal Cause Scarring?

Regardless of the technique used, mole removal always creates some scarring. You may end up with a hypopigmented scar or a line that is either darker or paler than the surrounding skin tone. If you have an exaggerated scar response, the removal process may cause thick, raised keloids or scars to form. The specialist will discuss the pros and cons of mole removal to help you make an informed decision.

  • Is Mole Regrowth Possible?

The answer to this question is yes, especially if it is a raised mole. When you get a mole removed, some mole cells will remain in most cases. But when your raised mole returns, it will be less noticeable.

Most moles are nothing to worry about since they are harmless. You do not have to remove a mole unless it is cancerous. However, removing it is an option if you do not like how it looks or affects your appearance. You can also remove it if it keeps rubbing against your clothes.

​​​​​​​For more on cosmetic surgery, visit East Bay Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery at our Oakland, California office. Call 510-451-6950 to schedule an appointment today