There are many different types, sizes, and shapes of moles. While some moles may be considered ‘beauty marks’ and others are easily hidden beneath clothing, there are some cases where moles affect a person’s appearance or have undergone changes that may make them possible skin cancer.
Moles are small spots and dark raised areas on the skin that many patients like to have removed for cosmetic reasons or because they are worried the mole may be cancerous. The surgeons at Roseville Facial Plastic Surgery encourage everyone who has a mole that has recently grown or changed in color or texture be seen by a professional plastic surgeon or dermatologist as this could be an indication of skin cancer.
Dr. Kiener frequently removes moles for his patients. While dermatologists can remove moles, many patients prefer to have it done by a plastic surgeon – particularly if the moles are on the face. This is because plastic surgeons have special training that helps them minimize scarring. Dr. Kiener takes the utmost care in performing excisions so that his patients are left with the smallest possible scar.
Most moles are benign, which means they are harmless, but some turn into skin cancer. The main indication that there might be a problem with a mole is a change in its appearance. Therefore, before removal, your doctor will examine the moles to determine if they should be biopsied. If that is the case, a specimen is taken and tested in the laboratory to make sure there are no cancer cells present. If skin cancer is found, further treatment will be needed unless the entire tumor was removed.
Dr. Kiener encourages his patients to do frequent self-checks of moles on their body. This can help them identify a mole that is changing and might need to be biopsied or removed. If you have moles on your back or other areas that are hard for you to inspect, have a loved one help you document any changes to moles in these areas. These general rules (handily labeled ABCDE) can help patients identify when a mole needs to be checked by a medical professional.
A = Asymmetry. If two sides of a mole do not match each other.
B = Border. Moles with ragged, blurred, notched, or irregular borders.
C = Color. If the color of the mole is not consistent. This could mean different shades of the same color or patches of different colors.
D = Diameter. If the mole is larger than 6 millimeters across (roughly the size of a pencil eraser).
E = Evolving. If the mole is changing in color, size, or shape.
What Can Be Accomplished By Mole Removal?
Mole removal with a plastic surgeon involves restoring a normal appearance by eliminating the lesion and minimizing a scar. This can have a major effect on appearance, especially if the mole was especially large or dark and located on the face. Mole removal can also be a preventative measure to prevent skin cancer from forming or growing. It’s never a mistake to remove a mole that has undergone recent changes as this could be an indication that skin cancer could be growing. Even if the mole turns out to be benign, the patient will have peace of mind that they do not have to worry about the mole becoming cancerous. Because most skin cancers grow at a slow rate, removing a mole when it starts to exhibit changes usually prevents it from ever becoming a major health problem.
How Does Roseville Facial Plastic Surgery Approach Mole Removal?
small knife to remove most of the tissue flush with the skin. A cauterization method “burns” the tissue. These are the techniques that dermatologists usually use. Dr. Kiener prefers to remove the entire lesion and place several sutures to repair the area. The shave and cautery methods often leave an area of white discoloration and the lesions often grow back if they were not completely removed.
If skin cancer is found, a dermatologist will most likely perform Mohs micrographic surgery on the area. In this procedure, a small number of cells are removed and tested under a microscope. More cells are then removed until no more cancer cells are found. This method prevents the removal of more skin than is absolutely necessary to eliminate the cancer cells. This method is especially useful where tissue is very precious, such as the eyelid, lip, and nose.
If a large area of tissue needs to be removed, reconstructive surgery with a plastic surgeon may be necessary. This may involve skin grafting or movement of nearby skin to close the defect. Many dermatologists work with Dr. Kiener’s office on procedures such as these. Roseville Facial Plastic Surgery’s expertise in reconstruction can prove a valuable component to helping the patients recover not only from cancer but also from the damage done to the skin when removing cancer.
What is Recovery Like After Mole Removal?
In most cases, there is no recovery required after mole removal. You should be able to continue with your normal activities immediately. Most of those who undergo a mole removal will want to be diligent about applying sunscreen to their faces or keeping their faces out of the sun as this will aid in recovery as well as in preventing the formation of new moles, spots, or possible skin cancers.
We recommend you clean the area of the procedure twice daily with hydrogen peroxide and apply a small amount of antibiotic ointment such as Bacitracin. Sutures are commonly removed about five days after they are put in and you will return to the office to have this process done.
Everyone heals differently, so you may have some after-effects such as mild bruising, swelling, or tenderness. It is unlikely that you will require pain medication, but if you are experiencing discomfort, you can take some over-the-counter pain medication such as Tylenol or ibuprofen. We will follow up with you, as necessary, to make sure that you are healing properly and will provide instructions for scar prevention. We generally recommend a silicone-based scar gel to be used after initial healing to minimize scarring.
If you have a mole that is affecting your general appearance or if you are worried that a mole might be cancerous, you should schedule a consultation with Dr. Kiener or Dr. Sykes as soon as possible. The doctors will examine the mole and talk to you about removal techniques as well as what you can expect from your mole removal surgery. Dr. Kiener has over 25 years of plastic surgery experience and is certified by the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive surgery as well as the American Board of Otolaryngology. He prides himself on his compassionate and professional patient service and enjoys working with patients to help restore their health and self-confidence.