Most of us have moles on our bodies with the average being about 25 per person. A mole is simply a small, often slightly raised blemish on the skin made dark by a high concentration of melanin. The more moles you have, the more likely you are to develop a type of skin cancer called melanoma, which can be deadly. If your mole is larger than the eraser on a pencil, has changed colors, has irregular borders, itches, or bleeds, it should be tested to make sure it is not cancerous. The earlier melanoma is detected the outcome is drastically improved.
Sometimes moles can be precancerous and need to be removed in order to prevent them from progressing to melanoma in the future with no additional treatment other than a simple excisional biopsy procedure. If cancer is found in your mole, it is medically necessary to have a trained cancer surgeon perform a surgery to remove the cancer and possibly test lymph nodes for metastasis. When patients have this type of surgery on the face, scalp, or neck, they may frequently request a facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon to perform the reconstruction. Choosing a board certified facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon is important to ensure the patient receives the best outcome in regards to scarring. As long as the facial plastic surgeon accepts your insurance, the mole removal, cancer treatment, and reconstruction are covered under insurance.
Even If a mole does not appear suspicious, but has an unsightly appearance, patients often opt to have it cosmetically removed. This just means that health insurance will not cover the procedure because it is elective and patients are responsible for the cost. Mole removal can be performed in our office under local anesthesia in under an hour. During the mole removal process, an anesthetic is injected to numb the area so that no pain or discomfort will be felt. Using a scalpel, the mole and a minimal amount of surrounding tissue is removed in an elliptical fashion. Two layers of stitches are then carefully placed to ensure the best result for healing and scarring. An antibiotic is normally prescribed to avoid infection, and if needed, a pain medication. Most patients only need an over the counter pain reliever. After about five days, the stitches will be removed and instructions are provided on how to best care for the wound.
In addition to keeping your scar out of the sun, I suggest Biocorneum, an advanced silicone treatment with SPF 30 for minimizing the appearance of scars. If a patient is interested in having a mole removed for either cosmetic or medical reasons they may set up a consultation with a facial plastic surgeon to go over in detail what the procedure may entail prior to having the procedure performed.
Post provided by Benjamin C. Stong MD