A mole is a spot on the skin that may be flat or raised, and comes in a variety of colours ranging from pink to black. Most moles are quite benign and do not need to be removed. However, some are unsightly or inconvenient. In this case they can easily be removed either surgically or by using natural therapies.
Natural therapies usually involve the application of natural substances over a period of time. It can take weeks for the mole to disappear but, if it happens to be malignant, the treatment will be ineffective. Faster and more practical is mole removal surgery, which has the added advantage that the mole can be sent for biopsy to establish if it is cancerous.
Before deciding on the most appropriate removal method for your particular case, you should consult with your dermatologist. Be aware, though, that many doctors have their own favourite method of mole removal, so you may need to do a little homework first or seek a second opinion before making a final decision on the type of mole removal surgery you want.
There most common surgical procedures are:
1. Excision with stitches – the area around the mole is sterilised and anaesthetised and the mole and some of the surrounding tissue removed with a scalpel. The wound is sutured either below the skin or on the surface and an antibiotic applied followed by a bandage. This method is usually used if it is suspected that the mole is malignant, so the excised mole is sent for examination. In some cases a biopsy is performed prior to the removal of the mole.
2. Cauterisation – after the mole is sterilised and anaesthetised, the doctor uses a scalpel to shave the mole down to skin level and then uses an electric cautery to seal the wound. The wound is then treated with an antibiotic and covered.
3. Laser surgery – this method employs intense light to burn away the mole. It is only useful on very shallow moles and, because it entirely destroys the cells, it is impossible to check for cancerous cells after surgery.
4. Cryosurgery – quick and simple, cryosurgery involve the freezing of the mole using liquid nitrogen. The frozen mole simply falls away from the skin. There is no nee for stitches buy it is important that the affected area is covered to reduce the risk of infection. Also, as the healing process progresses, a blister is likely to form; this is normal and the blister should be left alone. Cryosurgery is excellent for dealing with cancerous cells as it destroys them very effectively.
After mole removal surgery some discomfort is inevitable but it is usually slight and short-lived. The greater problem is the potential risk of infection, so it is vital that you take appropriate precautions as prescribed by your doctor. This often involves cleaning twice daily with diluted hydrogen peroxide or water and then applying an antibiotic cream. The whole healing process should take between one and two weeks. Scarring from mole removal surgery is usually minimal but, in any event, fades with time and is always less unsightly than the mole that was removed.
The cost of mole removal surgery varies. Unfortunately, unless the mole is cancerous or there are other extraneous factors, it is not normally covered by medical insurance as it is considered to be a cosmetic procedure.
Matthew Morris. PR consultant for Circle Partnership.