Mole removal: What to expect before and after your procedure

Sometimes moles are the result of genetics. Sometimes they're the result of sun exposure. And while...

Sometimes moles are the result of genetics. Sometimes they're the result of sun exposure. And while a cancerous mole is a best suited for an experienced dermatological surgeon, regular mole removal is done as a simple outpatient procedure and usually for cosmetic reasons. If you've got a mole removal planned with your dermatologist, learn more about the procedure and the recovery so you know what to expect.

Before the procedure

Since skin cancer can develop in existing moles, your doctor will first give you a skin exam to ensure that your mole isn't cancerous. Once you're in the clear, you can discuss removal methods. Some moles can be removed easily with a simple freezing technique (much like the removal of a wart) while other moles require a more surgical approach, where the affected area is cut away. You and your doctor can discuss the best way to approach your case.

During the procedure

Your doctor will use local anesthesia to make the procedure less painful. Since it's an outpatient procedure, you won't require any hospital time afterward. Your doctor will administer pain medication and will then remove the mole. If you have an excision, where the mole is cut out of the skin, you might also have some stitches. Talk to your doctor about caring for your stitches, and ask if they'll need to be removed or if they'll dissolve on their own. The procedure is quick and shouldn't take more than an hour.

After the procedure

One of the most common questions to dermatologists is whether or not the mole site will scar after the procedure. The answer is, it depends. The site, size and depth of your mole will dictate whether or not you scar, but it's important to note that an excision may result in a keloid scar, which is puffy. However, if you take care of your stitches and keep your wound clean and out of the sun, you'll have a better chance of healing quickly and therefore reducing your chance for scarring.

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