What are moles?
Moles are collections of pigment producing cells called melanocytes which occur within the skin. They very commonly occur on the face and may become larger or more prominent as we get older. Moles can be flat or raised, oval or circular, and may come in different colours and shades ranging from black or dark brown to pink or the colour of skin. The most common type of moles on the face are benign intradermal naevi. They are raised on the skin and can grow slowly through the years. They may get in the way of shaving or may catch on necklaces and clothing. Often, people want their moles removed simply because they do not like the way they look from an aesthetic viewpoint.
How are moles removed?
Moles can be removed in a variety of ways.The mainstay of treatment is either surgical removal or laser removal under a local anaesthetic. Moles that protrude from the skin are best removed by a technique called a shave excision. This involves the use of a dermablade to remove the mole parallel to the skin’s surface, which leaves a small shallow wound that is cauterised with an electrical current to stop any bleeding. No stitches are required and the wound heals over the course of 10-14 days, leaving an area of new skin which is flush and in keeping with the existing contour of the skin.
In certain situations, a formal excision with a scalpel is necessary for moles which are atypical or suspicious looking. In addition, some of the flatter or darker moles are suited more to a formal excision which would result in a cosmetically nicer scar. A formal excision has the advantage of removing the full thickness of skin which contains the mole, but will require stitches and will result in a line scar.
Laser mole removal uses a focused beam of amplified light of a certain wavelength to remove the mole. This is often seen as a futuristic form of treatment by the general public, and has certain advantages. However, it can cause some charring and thermal destruction of the removed mole, compromising histological examination to exclude abnormal cells.
Which method of mole removal do you use?
We firmly believe in safety first, and our policy is to include histological testing of all moles we remove. We favour excision by shave excision or formal excision, as we feel that post-operative results are the same or better compared to laser, with the advantage of an uncompromised biopsy specimen for the lab to examine.
We also remove moles by Laser excision if appropriate. Our laser excisions are done with a special dermatological laser using a fibre-optic contact surgical technique, which is different from using laser to vaporise the mole within the skin. This allows us to use the laser like a scalpel and still send the mole off for histological testing, which is considered best practice.
What happens to the wound following mole removal?
Following shave/laser excision, the wound takes about 10-14 days to fully heal. The simplest way to think about these wounds is that they will heal in a manner similar to a graze. We will give you written advice for aftercare and support you through the healing period with telephone, email or face-to-face review and advice if needed.
Moles which are removed with a scalpel are closed with stitches which either need to be removed or are dissolvable. The excision edges take about 5-7 days to knit together after which the stitches are removed if necessary. However, a longer amount of time is needed for the repair to gain in strength. The line scar that results is initially slightly raised and pink. Over time this fades into a thin white line which is much less noticeable.
Is the procedure painful?
The procedure is done under a local anaesthetic and is totally painless. However, there is a slight discomfort associated with the injection of the anaesthetic. This is minimised by the use of distraction techniques and fine needles. Once the anaesthetic wears off, most patients do not require any pain medication as the level of discomfort is very low.
How much does it cost?
All costs are clearly listed on our website.
Any necessary post-operative follow-up is provided at no additional charge.
Before and 1 month after
Before and fully healed 1 year later
Upper eyelid mole
Before and 3 months after
Before and 3 months after
Mole Removal price list *
Inital consultation free of charge
|Number of moles||Shave excision||Formal excision less than 2cm in diameter||Formal excision 2-3cm in diameter||Formal excision greater than 3cm in diameter|
* Prices are for moles removed at the same appointment. Prices include mole removal and histological testing.