What is a mole on the skin?
Skin moles (a “nevus” or “nevi” are the medical terms) are growths on your skin that range in color from your natural skin tone to brown or black. Moles can appear anywhere on your skin or mucous membranes, alone or in groups. Most skin moles appear in early childhood and during the first 20 years of life.
It is very common to have moles and most are harmless. They’re not contagious and they shouldn’t hurt, itch, or bleed. A mole can last as long as 50 years. However, if you feel uncomfortable and want to remove a mole on your skin; MiraBelle Spa surgeons can help you.
What are the types of skin moles?
Common types of skin mole may be:
- Common Nevi: This is a normal mole, a small growth on your skin that’s pink, tan, or brown and has a distinct edge.
- Congenital Nevi: These are moles discovered on your skin when you were born. Congenital nevi occur in about one in 100 people. These moles may be more likely to develop into melanoma than moles that appear after birth. If your skin mole is more than eight millimeters in diameter, it has a greater risk of becoming cancerous.
- Dysplastic Nevi: These moles are larger than a pencil eraser and irregularly shaped. Dysplastic nevi tend to have uneven color with dark brown centers and lighter, uneven edges. These moles tend to be hereditary (inherited), and people who have them may have more than 100 moles. If you have dysplastic nevi then you have a greater chance of developing malignant (cancerous) melanoma. Any changes in a mole should be checked for skin cancer by a dermatologist.
How can we have skin moles removed?
This procedure will usually begin with a numbing injection near the mole. This may pinch a little, but should keep you from feeling any pain during the removal. There are a few different techniques our surgeons may use to remove the mole. These techniques include:
A RF cautery is used to ablate the mole and the skin around it. With the tip of the cautery our physicians are able to remove the mole and underlaying tissue with little to no scaring after the wound has healed.
A razor blade is used to shave off the mole and the skin around it
A punch tool is placed over the mole and used to “punch” out the mole
A scalpel is used to remove the mole and skin surrounding it and stitches are used to help the skin heal
A surgical excision of a mole, also called a “full-thickness excision", removes unwanted growths down to the subcutaneous fat. By removing the mole from deep within the skin, the growth should to return and be permanently removed. While a punch excision also removes moles down to the subcutaneous fat, the cylindrical tool used cuts out portions of the skin into perfect circles and is only suitable for growths smaller than 8mm. If a punch excision was used for a growth larger than 8mm, issues with closure become more apparent with the circular shape of the cut not allowing for good alignment, creating excess skin when sutured. A surgical excision of a mole typically only requires a local anesthetic. Once the area is thoroughly cleansed and numbed, the unwanted growth will be removed down to the subcutaneous fat. The incision will be closed with sutures and covered with a protective bandage.
The goal of a surgical excision of a mole is to remove benign-appearing moles.
Frequently Asked Questions...
Moles are very common. Most people have about 10 to 40 of them.
Most moles grow on parts of your body that get sunlight (ultraviolet radiation). You might see that you get more moles the longer you’re in the sun.
No, moles are not contagious.
First, the specialist will give you a numbing injection near the mole. This may pinch a little, but should keep you from feeling any pain during the removal.
Plastic surgeons can remove moles and minimize scarring. Moles, particularly non-cancerous ones, can be easily removed with a minor surgical procedure.
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