Moles, which are benign in nature, are generally considered a cosmetic issue and no cause for alarm. There are certain cases, however, where your health-care provider may feel that it is necessary to remove a mole. These include situations here the mole appears to be malignant, is on an area that is highly noticeable and it makes you self-conscious, or it becomes irritated from things such as styling hair, shaving or being covered with clothing.
The healing required after mole removal depends on the procedure used for removal. For small moles, removed for cosmetic or nuisance reasons, health-care providers typically use shave excision. In this procedure, the doctor numbs the area surrounding the mole and uses a small blade to cut under and around the mole. The physician uses heat to stop any bleeding and applies an antibiotic ointment. You will be required to reapply the antibiotic ointment for a few weeks until healing is complete.
Larger moles, moles that are flat and moles that appear malignant are removed through excisional surgery. The physician uses a scalpel or punch tool to remove not only the mole, but surrounding healthy tissue along and underneath the mole. The opening is sutured closed. It is necessary to keep the area clean and dry until the sutures are removed, typically within one week.
The appearance of the area after mole removal depends on the procedure used for mole removal. Shave excision leaves no visible scar, and the skin under the mole will normally be the same color as the rest of the skin. Occasionally, the area where the mole was removed remains the same color as the mole. The scar left after excisional surgery is a thin white line that marks where the stitches closed the wound.
Watch for signs of infection in the area after mole removal. Cloudy fluid or pus draining from the removal site, redness around the site or radiating from the removal site toward the heart, an increase in tenderness, swelling or pain, and a fever are all symptoms of infection and require immediate evaluation by a physician.
Healing from either form of mole removal is typically quick and free from complications. It is an outpatient procedure using local anesthesia, which reduces the risk of complications.
Although rare, complications are possible with either shave excision or excisional surgery. Complications include infections, delayed bleeding, which occurs most often on moles removed from the lower body, and unexpected bleeding, which is most common in individuals who take blood-thinning medications or who have a history of bleeding easily.