Cosmetic Nevi (Mole) Removal
Skin moles, or nevi, are common small skin lesions that can be located anywhere on the body. They are usually brown or black “spots” but sometimes can be lighter in color. Most people have at least a few small moles on their skin, but some individuals can have many nevi and sometimes large nevi. Nevi often appear during childhood and puberty. Sometimes they can fade naturally after many decades. Usually nevi are not a problem, but they can sometimes pose cancer risks or be a cosmetic problem for some people. If you think you have a suspicious lesion, you should have your family doctor or dermatologist check the area. Your doctor may use the “ABCD” criteria to evaluate the lesion. “A” stands for asymmetry of the lesion, in that asymmetric lesions are more likely to be cancerous. “B” stands for borders of the lesion. Lesions with irregular borders are more likely to be cancerous. “C” stand for color of the lesion. Lesions with multiple colors are more concerning. “D” refers to diameter. Lesions larger than the eraser of a pencil (about 6 mm) are more concerning. If there is a concerning lesion, a biopsy procedure may be done to determine if a mole or lesion represents something else such as malignant melanoma or a basal cell carcinoma.
Often times, when nevi are on a prominent position in the body such as the neck or face, or when they are large, they can be a cosmetic concern for many people. They can affect a person’s self-confidence. Many people ask to have these moles removed from the face and neck. Traditional methods of removing moles such as cutting them out with incisions and stitches, or freezing them with liquid nitrogen, can cause unsightly scarring of the area.
Although no one can guarantee that a patient will not have a scar from cosmetic mole removal, our office uses the latest radiowave technology to cosmetically remove the moles without stitches or any incisions. Using this technology and our techniques, this process often leaves little or no scar. The technology works by very gently “melting” the mole while sparing the underlying skin. The process can be done under local anesthesia, or if there are multiple moles that need to be removed or a patient has anxiety, we can remove the moles with a patient under nitrous oxide sedation or IV sedation. The procedure usually takes about 15 minutes for one mole to be removed, and you can return to work or school almost immediately.
When finished with the procedure, there will be a slightly “raw” area left. The area is covered with an antibiotic ointment twice a day for the next week. During that time, the skin in the area will heal over the site and become pink. Women are able to put makeup over the area after one week. The pink area can persist for several weeks but eventually will fade to the normal, surrounding skin color. In rare cases, if there is a very large mole, it may be treated in two appointments to minimize any scarring and to maximize the cosmetic results.
For more information on cosmetic mole or nevi removal, ask to schedule a consultation with Dr. Biggerstaff or Dr. Parker.
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