Have you ever looked down to see a new mole or noticed that a mole has changed in shape or color? While most moles are harmless, sometimes they may be a source of concern. If you should notice any changes in your moles, specifically if you notice irregular borders, or new moles it is important that you consult with your doctor or dermatologist right away.
If your doctor feels the mole looks suspicious, or is worried it could be a form of skin cancer, they will remove it and send it to pathology to have it examined. There are a few different types of methods for mole removal, but the most common are surgical shave and surgical excision.
Surgical Shave: A surgical shave is a short procedure in which the mole is shaved down with a scalpel. To reduce discomfort, the area is numbed with a local anesthetic prior to the procedure so most patients don’t feel discomfort. Usually, only a small pink mark is left after the shaving takes place. This procedure is most suitable for raised moles.
Surgical shaves are typically utilized when doctors are concerned about a mole, but not enough to feel it needs to be completely removed, just enough to biopsy it. This is useful for diagnosing cancers such as basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma.
Surgical Excision: A surgical excision is slightly more invasive than the surgical shave, and is typically utilized when moles have cells that have grown beneath the top layer of skin. A local anesthetic is again used to numb the area so any discomfort is minimized. With this method, the mole is cut out with a scalpel, along with a small amount of skin surrounding the area. Cutting out these moles usually requires a few stitches, resulting in a small scar that fades over time.
Surgical excisions are especially vital in diagnosing aggressive types of skin cancers like melanoma. It allows your dermatologist to completely remove the mole, and they provide a large sample for the pathologist to biopsy and obtain the correct diagnosis.
Skin Cancer Specialists, P. C. & Aesthetic Center proudly serves clients in the Austell and surrounding Atlanta areas! To learn more about mole removal, or to schedule your consultation at Skin Cancer Specialists, P. C. & Aesthetic Center, please fill out the form on this page or call (770) 941-1013.