Mole removal can be necessary in certain cases and if you have noticed a mole has changed you should book an appointment with a skin specialist. For example, these changes might include differences in colour, growth, itching or bleeding.
During your skin check appointment, a mole biopsy may be recommended if there are possible signs of melanoma, a fast-spreading form of skin cancer. The type of removal and treatment of melanoma will depend on how far it has progressed. There are other types of skin cancer that may be detected including basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma.
In other cases, a common mole can be uncomfortable or you might not like its appearance. Perhaps it is irritated by your bra strap or shaving, or the mole is in a visible position such as your face, neck or chin.
A skin specialist will most likely consider a biopsy of a suspicious looking mole in order to determine if it is skin cancer or malignant melanoma.
A mole biopsy involves either an excision, or shaving using a circular blade. Depending on the size of the area and method used stitches may be required. After numbing the site with a local anaesthetic, the specialist will remove either a small portion, the complete mole or an irregular piece for analysis. Importantly, analysis in the pathology lab will give a clearer indication of what steps to take next.
If caught in the early stages, the aim of surgery is to remove the complete mole, so in the case of melanoma, a wide local excision biopsy may be required. During this type of surgery, an area of skin around the mole is also removed to minimise the risk of the cancer spreading.
Depending on the stage of melanoma progression, general health, age, and other factors, the specialist team will create an individualised treatment plan. More aggressive treatment with chemotherapy, immunotherapy, or radiotherapy may be recommended after surgery for melanoma which has spread throughout the body.
Most common moles will not require removal. These are small melanocyte skin growths which might be skin colour or darker, flat or slightly raised. Regardless, regular skin checks are advisable to ensure that there are no changes to existing moles or the growth of new, suspicious looking moles.
Although cosmetic mole removal is usually quite a simple procedure, it can still feel daunting. Rest assured that our experienced specialists will take the time to talk through your concerns during your initial consultation. Once the mole in question has been assessed by the specialist and removal options have been discussed, an appointment can be made for the procedure.
It is common practice for any moles which have been removed to be sent for analysis.
Usually, the skin is prepared by cleaning the site thoroughly before the application of local anaesthesia or topical ointment is used to numb the area.
Depending on the size and position, the skin specialist will either shave the mole or gently excise it.
Moles which are in cosmetically prominent positions are generally removed by excision with stitches to minimise scarring. After mapping and preparing the area a scalpel is used to remove the mole. If the mole was growing under the skin, the excision might be deep and stitches will be required.
This is a simple procedure during which a scalpel is used to shave the mole and either remove it completely or leave it slightly under the skin. The skin specialist will cauterise the wound, treat it with an antibacterial solution, and cover it with a bandage.
After receiving instructions on wound care, if there is no faintness or dizziness, it is safe for you to go home and relax. It might take a few days or even weeks to completely heal depending on the procedure.
Pain is uncommon, but soreness and itching might be present. Unless you are feeling unwell, normal activities can generally be resumed the next day.
Although uncommon, there are cases of infection, nerve damage, and excessive scarring after mole removal. This is why it is important to choose a highly qualified and experienced professional.
When it comes to mole removal our specialists take extra care to minimise scarring.
If the removed mole was cancerous, regular 3 -6 monthly skin checks will be recommended for the first 5 years to ensure the cancer has not returned or spread. Even if the mole was non cancerous it is still important to keep an eye on any moles or freckles for peace of mind that all is well with the skin. Be assured that My Skin Centre specialists have the skills and equipment to provide the best of care in this area.
Self skin checks are very important and can be the pathway to early detection. Remember to be vigilant with sun protection, wear a hat and sunscreen, and cover up with long sleeved clothing.
If you have any further concerns about mole removal please contact us at My Skin Centre and our friendly staff will be happy to answer your queries.
With multiple locations throughout Perth and the South West there is a clinic near you!