If you have a mole that has grown, changed colour or started to bleed or weep, your dermatologist may advise that it is removed and tested to find out if it is cancerous. This is routine and does not mean that you have skin cancer. Most moles, even ones that look abnormal, are benign and non-cancerous. You can also have a normal mole removed for cosmetic reasons.
At our dermatology clinic in London we can provide a thorough mole screening service and can offer mole removal for both medical and cosmetic reasons.
Removing a suspicious mole
Two methods can be used:
- Excision biopsy – the entire mole is removed with a scalpel together with a margin of tissue around it. An oval incision is made around the mole and underneath it and then the wound is closed with stitches. This type of mole removal does leave a scar, approximately twice the size of the original mole. The tissue that has been removed is examined under a microscope to check for cancerous cells and to check if all of the cancer has been removed.
- Shave excision – some moles that are raised above the surrounding skin can be removed by a shaving technique which does not involve the use of stitches.
Cosmetic mole removal
If you want a mole to be removed purely for cosmetic reasons, you will need to consult a private dermatologist. Such moles can be removed using one of the techniques described above. Any mole removed is always sent for further examination under the microscope by a Consultant Pathologist.
Is mole removal painful?
Whatever method is used, you will be given a local anaesthetic before the mole removal surgery to numb the area completely. Over-the-counter painkillers are usually all that you need to cope with any soreness of the next few days.
As with all forms of minor surgery, there is a small risk of infection. If the area around where the mole has been removed starts to feel sore and swollen, make an urgent appointment with your Dermatologist to have it checked as soon as possible.
Mole removal at The Devonshire Clinic
Our Consultant Dermatologists can perform mole removal for medical or cosmetic reasons and we have access to histology facilities to check for the presence of cancer in mole tissue that has been removed.