Skin Procedures

Mole Removal

San Francisco - East Bay

As men and women reach young adulthood, they begin to develop nevi, otherwise known as moles. Some are quite unnoticeable, but others can be concerning for multiple reasons:

  • They may appear suspicious for cancer or pre-cancer

  • They rub or catch on clothing and become a source of skin irritation

  • They are unsightly

Mole removal is a simple way to get rid of unsightly or concerning nevi. They are three primary methods of mole removal used today:

  • Shaving. This is the most frequently used method of removal, common in moles that are irritated by clothing or shaving. The mole and surrounding skin is injected with anesthetic to prevent pain, and is then shaved off with a scalpel at a level flush with the patients skin. The drawback to this method is that the moles often grow back, and may grow back darker than they were initially.

  • Elliptical excision. This method is frequently used if there is a high suspicion of melanoma, or when the patient is concerned about regrowth, re-pigmentation or uneven skin contours. These problems are avoided by making an elliptical shaped incision around the mole, and also excising the underlying tissue. The elliptical shaped incision assures that the skin edges will align properly for good closure, and removal of the underlying tissue prevents the regrowth and re-pigmentation as well as removing all cancerous cells if that is the case. This method does carry an increased risk of bleeding, infection and visible scarring, though that risk remains low.

  • Laser. Laser mole removal is a great option to minimize bleeding and scarring. The light energy put forth from the laser is absorbed by the skin pigment, which is then broken up and removed by the body during the healing process. There is no pain involved, just a tingling sensation. Most flat spots can be removed with a single treatment, however protruding lesions may require repeat treatments due to the depth of the pigment. Three treatments are usually sufficient.

After mole removal the treatment area becomes red or darker. This will fade in a matter of weeks during the healing process. Covering your skin with sunscreen is an essential part of the healing process.

Mole removal is done on an outpatient basis in less than an hour, and there is no downtime afterward. Your surgeon will help you to determine which method is
best for you.

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