Skin moles are growths caused by clusters of cells called melanocytes. Most are benign, but they may be removed for aesthetic purposes, especially if they are on the face. They may also be present from birth or may develop in time. The latter are usually caused by sun exposure. Watch moles carefully for unusual borders, bleeding or itching as this may be indicative of cancer.
Most moles appear early in life, although some moles may appear later on in adulthood. Some people are more prone to moles than others, including those who are fair-skinned or who spend a lot of time in the sun. These people are more likely to develop a melanoma. A flat mole on the face may be nothing more than a benign growth; however, removal is often done for high-risk individuals to check for the existence of abnormal cells.
Moles cause varying effects on individuals. Benign moles are removed to enhance appearance, particularly if the mole is located on the face. If they itch or become irritated because of clothing, jewelry or physical activity, they may become a nuisance. Sometimes, moles are removed for biopsy if they are potentially cancerous. There are a few people, such as celebrities or public figures, who keep visible moles on their face as a symbol of recognition.
Most dermatologists remove moles via two primary methods: excision and excision with cauterization. Excision involves shaving the mole off the skin with a scalpel. The wound is closed with sutures that dissolve naturally. Excision with cauterization uses an electrical instrument to burn the affected area where the mole was removed. It is then closed and treated to prevent bleeding and infection.
Recovery time for mole removal depends on the type of procedure done and how much tissue was removed. If potentially malignant moles are removed, doctors often cut away tissue underneath and surrounding the mole. If cancer is not suspected, the mole itself is the only area that is removed. Topical ointments are applied to the wound to prevent infection and it is covered for several days to heal properly.
Complications after flat facial mole removal are rare. Infection is possible, and unusual symptoms following the procedure should be reported immediately. Excessive discharge from your wound, excessive bleeding, fever, pain or swelling all are signs of a possible infection. Occasionally, moles return after removal, but they should not be of concern unless the original mole was atypical.