Mole Removal Surgery
Mole removal surgery depends on factors such as the type of mole, the size of the mole, and the location of the mole.
Mole removal is undertaken for a variety of reasons such as to establish a diagnosis, remove a changing mole or for cosmetic purpose.
What is a Mole?
A mole is a collection of special pigment producing cells called melanocytes. There are generally two types of moles you can get. The most common (acquired) moles start appearing during or even before puberty. In about 1-2% of the population, (congenital) moles are present from birth.
Moles can change in appearance over time, and with puberty and pregnancy. It is important to monitor your moles for recent changes and see a doctor if your moles appear suspicious.
What types of moles are there?
Moles can take on different shapes and sizes, and may change with puberty, pregnancy and age.
Moles may appear at anybody site, and can take on different colours such as brown, black, blue or skin colour. They can appear flat, and may protrude from the skin (which is common on the face).
The acquired moles can range from a few millimetres in diameter to giant hairy congenital moles more than 20cm diameter seen in a newborn.
What is Melanoma?
Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, and accounts for the majority of deaths arising from all types of skin cancer. Melanoma has the highest incidence in Australia, New Zealand and North America.
Following this easy to use ABCDE algorithm, any recent change in your mole warrants a visit to a doctor.
- Asymmetry of shape or colour
- Border irregular
- Colour variability (More than 3 colours)
- Diameter greater than 6mm
- Evolution or change over time
How are Moles diagnosed?
Moles are usually diagnosed based on their clinical appearance and their history of development.
In cases, where diagnosis is uncertain, we use a Dermatoscope, a specialised instrument to examine the mole under polarised light and magnification to better characterise the mole.
Moles that remain suspicious, or have recently changed are sent for a biopsy.
Why Mole Removal Surgery?
Although most moles can be left alone, you may wish to remove the mole for the following reasons:
- Unusual moles that are growing and you or your doctor may want a diagnosis to rule out cancer
- Moles that are inconveniently located, causing abrasions and skin irritation.
- Cosmetic purposes: Some may just not like the way it looks and want it removed.
Mole Removal Surgery - Procedures
The majority of moles can be safely left alone after examination, and no further treatment is required.
You may wish to remove your moles if you are concerned of a recent change in your mole, the mole causes skin irritation or for cosmetic purposes.
The mole removal surgery method depends on the size, type of mole, your skin type and whether a biopsy needs to be done.
Mole removal surgery treatment options:
- Excision biopsy
- Shave biopsy
- CO2 Laser mole removal
Mole removal surgery is performed under local anaesthetic. The procedure is virtually painless.
As with most surgical procedures, there is a risk of bleeding, infection, hyperpigmentation, hypopigmentation, scarring and recurrence.
Small moles usually recover within 7-10 days. For larger moles that require excision, it may take 10-14 days for the removal of stitches.
It is important to keep the wound clean after the mole removal procedure. Regular change of dressings and anti-septic cleansing will reduce the chance of infection. Avoid sun exposure to reduce chance of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and mole recurrence.
Yes, this can happen in some cases. This may be due to factors such as genetic susceptibility, age, location and type of mole. If a mole does recur, your doctor will advise you on the next appropriate course of action.
Mole removal surgery is from $360 onwards. The number of mole, size and depth of your mole and complexity of the procedure will determine the final cost of the procedure. Please speak to your doctor during your consultation.
- Zalaudek I, Schmid K, Marghoob AA, et al. Frequency of dermoscopic nevus subtypes by age and body site: a cross-sectional study. Arch Dermatol. 2011 Jun. 147(6):663-70.
- Haenssle HA, Mograby N, Ngassa A, Buhl T, Emmert S, Schön MP, et al. Association of Patient Risk Factors and Frequency of Nevus-Associated Cutaneous Melanomas. JAMA Dermatol. 2015 Nov 4. 1-8.
- Sardana, K., Chakravarty, P., & Goel, K. (2014). Optimal management of common acquired melanocytic nevi (moles): current perspectives. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology, 7, 89–103. https://doi.org/10.2147/CCID.S57782