Mole Removal: San Francisco Bay Area
The best method for mole removal depends on different characteristics of the mole including size, shape, and color. With most moles (pigmented areas) we are either born with them, or they appear over time as we exose our skin to the sun. For flat moles, skin tags, or protruding moles that have been realtively stable since birth (with no rapid growing, shape changing, etc.) treatment with laser or excision can remove them easily. Other moles that have changed in color or contour should be removed for biopsy to determine if they are associated with skin cancer.
Watch Dr. Rajagopal perform a mole removal via excision:
Different Types of Moles and Their Characteristics:
Skin Tags- are small skin growths that may have a small narrow stalk. They are usually skin colored or occasionally darker in color, and usually painless.
Raised Moles- These can be a variety of colors and run deeper than flat moles.
Flat Moles- any dark spot or irregularity in the skin.
Treatment Methods for Mole Removal:
Laser- Usually used for pigmented nevi (flat moles that are brown/black in color). This method of removal may require repeated treatments (approximately 1-3) before the mole is gone. Light from the laser usually does not penetrate deeply enough to use this method on raised moles.
Excision (cutting) with sutures- Some moles may require excision for complete and permanant removal. This is usually a single treatment and is usually used for protruding moles.
Electrocautery- Usually used for removing skin tags, or seborrheia keritosis. It is a procedure that uses heat to burn the mole off, reaching only the superficial layers of the skin (so scarring is not a problem). Multiple treatments may be needed (approximately 1-3).
If the mole has been excised, stitches will be left in for approximately one week. If the mole has been treated with a laser there will usually be a scab that forms, and can take a week before it falls off. Once the scab comes off the area is usually reddish. It can take several weeks before the normal skin color returns. The area should be kept clean and protected from the sun with a good sunblock.