Moles are skin growths, usually brown in colour, that can occur anywhere on the body. Moles can change in shape or colour over time, and in some cases may turn into skin cancer. Mole removal is a surgical dermatology treatment typically used for cosmetic purposes, to remove skin cancer, and in some cases to prevent skin cancer from forming.
Our Double Board-Certified Dermatologist has extensive knowledge in the diagnosis of moles and growths. Her expertise and precision allow her to remove these lesions effectively, with minimal scarring.
The first step of a successful mole removal is the correct diagnosis of the mole or growth. There are many dermatological lesions that can present themselves as raised lesions on the skin, both benign and malignant. Only a Double Board-Certified Dermatologist is fit to correctly diagnose these lesions to ensure proper steps are taken in removing them.
After our Dermatologist Dr. Bailey has made the diagnosis of a benign mole the most appropriate procedure will be carefully selected.
Surgical procedures available:
Punch excision: A circular punch is placed on the circumference of the mole, allowing for removal with the smallest possible diameter. Typically this removes the roots of the mole.
Shave excision: Raised lesions can be shaved flush with the skin, and then treated with electrocautery. This burns the base of the mole to lower the risk of recurrence.
Surgical excision: This procedure is normally performed for lesions larger than 8mm in diameter. Patients will require stitches which are usually removed after 1-2 weeks depending on the site.
Cryotherapy: Cryotherapy can be used to treat some benign lesions such as age spots. Only a Dermatologist will be able to tell you if the lesion of concern is an age spot that can be safely treated with cryotherapy or if it is mole that must be excised. Cryotherapy uses liquid nitrogen to generate extremely cold temperatures (-196°C) to destroy cells.
Electrocautery: Electrocautery involves an electric metal scalpel that emanates heat. These high temperatures will destroy the cells where the lesion is located. This must be done by your Dermatologist, as temperatures must be carefully controlled to avoid scarring.
Before the procedure – Dr. Bailey will evaluate your skin, measure the area, ask about your medical history, and inform you about the most appropriate procedure for your case.
During the procedure – The lesion will be injected with local anesthetic. After the anesthetic takes effect, patients will feel no pain or discomfort. These procedures typically take 15-20 minutes depending on the size of the growth.
After the procedure – Avoid sun exposure and continue to follow post-surgical instructions given by Dr. Bailey. Avoid strenuous exercise for 24 hours following the procedure to prevent bleeding.
A scar is the body’s natural way of closing the skin and healing a wound.
If you follow all the post-surgical instructions, the wound will heal with the least visible scarring possible. It is always important to talk to your Dermatologist before any procedure, to assess the risk of a scar.
Can you remove your moles at home?
Moles should never be removed at home. Careful diagnosis by a Dermatologist is necessary before removing any lesion or growth on the body.
Moles or growths are typically removed in one session unless a re-excision is required.
Once the mole is removed, the skin will be in a phase of recovery. Patients are advised to follow the proper aftercare to ensure the wound heals properly and avoid any scarring or pigmentation.
The biggest risk after surgery is infection of the surgical site. If you carefully follow the post-surgical instructions, it is very rare for this to happen.
This procedure is performed by our Double Board-Certified Dermatologist, Dr. Kristy Bailey.
Generally, lesion removals for a cosmetic purpose are not covered by OHIP or private insurance. If the lesion is cancerous, OHIP will cover the procedure.
Many of these adverse reactions are transient and self-limited. You will be advised on how to treat them.
In certain cases where patients are seeking to have a mole removed for cosmetic purposes, they may be trading the mole for a scar where the lesion is surgically removed. You will be advised on the best course of action by our Dermatologist.
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