Moles are dark spots or irregularities found in the skin. They come in various shapes and sizes. Moles can appear anywhere on the skin, from the nose and other facial area, as well as arms and chest areas, in groups, or by themselves. They can be present at birth, or can begin to appear over time. Many patients choose to have their skin moles removed as a precautionary measure, or because they dislike the mole’s appearance. For those who want their moles removed for cosmetic reasons, surgical and laser removal are usually good options.
Mole Removal Surgery
There are three methods used for surgical mole removal: shave excision, punch biopsy, and excisional surgery.
- Shave excision is used for moles that are raised above the skin. In the shave procedure, your doctor will apply a local anesthetic to the area surrounding the mole and use a small, sharp scalpel to shave down the surface of the mole so that it is flush with the surrounding skin.
- The punch biopsy technique, usually used for smaller skin moles, involves using a special device to “punch out” a cylinder-shaped piece of skin.
- Skin moles that are flat or malignant are usually removed with excisional surgery, wherein the mole out is cut out entirely and the wound closed with stitches.
Laser Mole Removal
Laser mole removal is best for moles that are flat and brown or black in color. Full removal of the mole usually requires one to three laser treatments. Generally, laser mole removal is not appropriate for very large moles or moles that protrude above the skin.