Understanding Mole Excision
Moles are skin growths that are darker than the surrounding skin. They are common and are not normally a problem. But moles can sometimes cause problems. In certain cases, a type of skin cancer called melanoma can grow in or near the mole. In other cases, a mole may be bothersome. In either case, removal (excision) of a problem mole can be done.
Why mole excision is done
Your healthcare provider may do a mole excision for one or more reasons:
Part or all of a suspicious mole may be removed to check it for cancer.
A mole that is constantly rubbed by clothing or irritated in other ways may be removed to help make you more comfortable.
A mole that is large or on a visible body part can be removed for cosmetic reasons.
How mole excision is done
Removing a mole is often done in the healthcare provider’s office. You usually go home the same day.
The area is cleaned. It is then injected with medicine (anesthetic) to numb it.
The provider cuts out the mole. He or she may also remove a certain amount of healthy tissue around the mole to make sure the margins are clear of any dangerous cells.
If needed, the incision may be closed with sutures or staples.
Risks of mole excision
Damage to nearby nerves
Infection of the incision
Keloid or too much scar tissue forms
Pain in the area
Recurrence of the mole
Preventing skin cancer
To help protect yourself from skin cancer:
Check your skin regularly for changes in your moles and for new moles.
See your healthcare provider if you have a mole that bleeds, itches, or changes in size, color, or shape.
If you have many moles or have a family history of skin cancer, have moles checked by your healthcare provider at least once a year.
Use clothing and sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher to protect your skin from the sun.
Never use tanning beds.
March 21, 2017
Alguire PC, et al. Skin biopsy techniques. Up To Date. November 2 ed: Up To Date; 2015. p. 20., Habif TP. Dermatologic surgical procedures. Clinical Dermatology. 6 ed. Philadelphia: Elsevier; 2016. p. e1-e19., Olbricht S. Biopsy Techniques and Basic Excisions. In: Bolognia JL, et al, editors. Dermatology. 3 ed. Philadelphia: Elsevier; 2012. p. 2381-97., Perkins A, et al. Atypical Moles: Diagnosis and Management. American Family Physician. 2015 June 1;91(11):762-7.
Berman, Kevin, MD,Ziegler, Olivia, MS, PA