Surgical Dermatology - Removal of Moles

A nevus commonly known as a mole is a concentration of cells called melanocytes which are responsible for making the pigmentation on our skin.

There are mainly three different shapes of moles:

  1. Junctional Nevus: Flat pigmented moles which are not protruding out of the surface of skin.
  2. Compound Nevus: Pigmented moles which are protruding out of skin surface and also have deeper roots.
  3. Intradermal Nevus: Moles that have deeper roots and have been present for many years. Most of these moles have lost their pigmentation over the years and present as skin colored protruding moles.

Mole removal can be accomplished by removing the mole tangentially also known as shave removal, by cutting the roots out known as the punch removal, or by full surgical excision.  Depending on the type and shape of the mole sometimes lasers could be used.

Removing a mole for cosmetic purposes must be done carefully as the resulting scar will depend on various factors including the technique used, the type and size of the mole, the exact location of the mole, and the skin color of the patient.  Most commonly a shave removal is considered where the portion of the mole protruding out of the skin is removed tangentially resulting in a slight discoloration the size of the mole flat with the skin surface that may be unnoticeable over time. There is a chance of recurrence of the mole with the shave method.  For smaller and flatter moles, a punch excision is usually the best technique utilizing a small hole punch and 1-2 stitches, and will result in a small line scar. For larger or raised moles, surgical excision is an option where the roots of the mole are removed and the defect is repaired via layered sutures resulting in a linear skin colored scar.

At Castle Dermatology, when considering removing a mole, we would be happy to discuss the various mole removal techniques with in order to determine the right procedure with the best aesthetic outcome.  Understanding the different techniques and the potential expectation of the scar along with the expertise of the dermatologist are essential in making a decision to remove your unwanted mole.