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A Melanocytic nevus, commonly known as a mole, is a dark spot on the skin that comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. A mole can exist just below the skin (subdermal) and be made of melanin. Moles can also grow on the skin which is a pigmented type of growth that is made of mainly melanocytes.
Many times moles are benign, and can also be seen as a cosmetic enhancement. Other moles may present problems due to possible skin cancer or may grow or appear larger than normal. In these cases, mole removal is a typically safe and quick surgical procedure that a patient can undergo.
Sudden changes in a mole's shape or size may be the sign of skin cancer development and should be monitored and examined by an experienced dermatologist. If a mole gets darker, has dark spots that form on its edges, bleeds, or is otherwise irritated, then a doctor visit is especially important.
Mole removals take place in order to biopsy the mole and make sure that it is not malignant (i.e. containing skin cancer). There are two primary methods of mole removal: Excision with stitches and excision with cauterization. Both methods take place in the dermatologist's office and on an outpatient basis.
Sometimes a mole may be removed with excision only, but there tends to be some after-effect that needs to be looked at before the patient can leave the room. Laser mole removal has also been experimented with but is not generally used as a mole removal technique. The excision may sometimes be deep and wide, necessitating the closure of the skin either by stitches or cauterization.
Mole removal is a painless procedure due to topical anesthetic injections. The mole is carefully sliced off with a sterile and very sharp scalpel. Many times a simple bandage will be placed over the area after mole removal. The mole is then placed into a container for biopsy at a specialized laboratory. A cauterization tool can "close"? the wound by heat application to the area, which stops bleeding. Stitches can also be used if necessary.
It is not clear what causes moles to form though both sun and genetics play a role in their frequency. Moles are seen on children of parents who have moles. Moles also tend to appear after excessive sun exposure.
Mole removal is a very safe procedure with minimal side effects. Some side effects may be a scarring, which usually reduces with time. Some people may have a keloid scar reaction, meaning that the scar tissue continues to grow over the excised area. The experience of a mole removal doctor also plays a big role in scarring or other after-effects.
Some doctors may remove moles unnecessarily while others may not be aware of any irregularity that can go unnoticed and become a health risk. In all cases, only a fully experienced, board-certified doctor should be seen for mole removal surgery.