Top New York plastic surgeon Dr. Darrick Antell is board certified in plastic surgery, emphasizing aesthetic / cosmetic surgery. One of the cosmetic and reconstructive surgery procedures he regularly performs is mole removal.
Mole removal is the excision of unwanted or worrisome dark pigmented growths. People often decide to remove moles for cosmetic reasons because of their size or location, but should a mole’s size, shape or color change, your mole may be removed and examined for cancerous cells, especially if one or more of these characteristics seem irregular. Dr. Antell performs mole removal at his New York practice for both medical and cosmetic purposes. If you are considering mole removal, this section will give you a basic understanding of the procedure.
Dr. Antell specializes in the excision of moles and other types of skin lesions. If moles are changing in shape, size, or color, they should be evaluated by a physician. To learn more about the signs of skin cancer, visit our Recognizing Skin Cancer page. Should moles become cancerous, your surgeon will discuss the exact method of removal that best fits your unique situation, depending on the size and location of your mole, to ensure the most aesthetic result.
The below information will give you a basic understanding of the procedure, when it can help, how the mole removal procedure will be performed and what results you can expect. However, this page cannot answer all of your questions, as many aspects of mole removal surgery depend on the individual patient and the surgeon. Please ask us about anything you don't understand on this website or about your procedure anytime during your interaction with our doctors and friendly staff.
Mole removal encompasses the removal of skin tags, raised moles and flat moles. The best candidates for this procedure are patients who are either dissatisfied by how a mole looks cosmetically or are concerned by the appearance of an irregularly shaped, colored, or sized mole. These growths appear as flat or raised clusters of heavily pigmented skin cells on or above the skin's surface.
While most pose no danger, some moles may develop into malignant melanoma. Particularly worrisome moles are those that have mottled colors or irregular edges. If you are concerned or dissatisfied by the appearance of your mole, or if your mole is constantly irritated from rubbing against clothing and jewelry (which can sometimes cause pre-cancerous changes), you may want to consider mole removal surgery.
Like any surgery, mole removal carries some level of uncertainty and risk. Mole removal can enhance your appearance and relieve uncertainty about a worrisome mole. Should the worst occur and the presence of cancerous cells is confirmed by a biopsy, swift and lifesaving treatment can be implemented. No one wants to hear that their mole is cancerous, but early detection and treatment are crucial to a successful recovery.
Dr. Antell will evaluate your health during your initial consultation to determine where your moles are located, how much they interfere with daily activities and carefully select the best technique, either shaving or excision, to remove each individual mole. Dr. Antell will explain the risks involved with surgery, other surgical options if available, and a combination of mole removal and scar revision if necessary to minimize any potentially permanent scars.
Depending on the location, size, and individual characteristics of your mole, surgery may be performed the same day as your initial consultation and will only involve local anesthesia. For larger moles, growths found on sensitive locations, or worrisome moles, patients can schedule a separate appointment to ensure that the entire mole and surrounding potential pre-cancerous cells are excised.
Mole removal may be performed in-office using local anesthesia. It's usually performed on an outpatient basis for convenience and cost containment, and patients may return home immediately following surgery. Patients should anticipate returning for a post-operative visit one week following surgery, so Dr. Antell can assess the progress of your healing and remove stitches if the excision technique is performed.
Mole removal surgery utilizes local anesthesia and may also require the use of an IV sedative commonly known as “Twilight,” but the use of IV sedation is rare. If “Twilight” is utilized, patients will feel as though they are falling asleep naturally. You won’t be aware of the surgery or remember the surgery taking place despite being conscious throughout your mole removal. The use of “Twilight” ensures that patients are comfortable throughout the entire experience.
For some of the flat moles that occur later in life, a "shave excision" may be appropriate. This technique of mole removal is slightly less invasive than mole excision. Patients can expect a scab to form in the mole’s absence. This scab will flake off after approximately one week, leaving new, reddish skin. This skin will eventually return to a normal pigment within a few weeks and should be protected from the sun and kept clean during this time period.
In most instances, however, these darker pigmented cells are deep in the mole and shaving alone will still leave a dark spot. Full thickness excision is the definitive treatment and is the technique that is most often performed. This method will also give the pathologist the best specimen to evaluate the cells for any pre-cancerous changes. Patients can expect to receive a few stitches with this technique and to schedule a follow-up appointment to remove stitches approximately one week following surgery.
Although patients should expect to schedule a post-operative appointment to ensure the treatment site is healing properly, patients may return home the same day, directly following their mole removal. Whether the mole was suspect for medical reasons or was simply removed for cosmetic enhancement, a sample will typically be sent to a laboratory for testing, ensuring mole cells are not cancerous. Although many moles that are removed for cosmetic purposes are not cancerous, strict precautions are always made to ensure the health and safety of each patient.
Dr. Darrick E. Antell and his staff will be happy to discuss mole removal with you. Please call for a private consultation or schedule an appointment online at our office.