What started off as a small beauty mark may have grown over time into an aesthetic concern. If you do not like the appearance of moles on your body, consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon may determine whether cosmetic mole removal is an option for you.
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- DR. STEPHANIE POWER
If you are self-conscious of the appearance of a mole, it may be surgically removed with the help of a board certified plastic surgeon. Every mole is different. Dr. Power will make specific recommendations for you based on factors including the size and location of your mole, background skin pigmentation, and whether any risk factors for abnormal scarring are present. If you have medical concerns about your mole, including bleeding, itching, or change in appearance, it is important to see your family physician for medical work up before exploring cosmetic options. Family history of skin cancer or sunburns, particularly in childhood, are additional risk factors.
The two main approaches for cosmetic mole removal are shave vs. elliptical excision. A shave excision performs just that – shaving the mole off flush with the surrounding skin. An elliptical excision removes the entire mole, including the underlying skin, and the incision edges are then meticulously stitched together. Each technique carries risks and benefits. The risk of recurrence is higher following shave excision given that the deep portion of the mole remains in the underlying skin. Shave excision may be recommended for large moles in certain cosmetically sensitive regions, for example, the nostril. An elliptical excision at this site may increase risk of nostril distortion. Dr. Power will carefully assess your mole and make the best recommendations based on your presentation. The procedure is performed under local anesthetic in a clinic setting.
You may return to work the same or next day. Stitches are typically removed a week later following excisions performed on the face and 10-14 days post-op following excisions on the body. It is recommended to avoid exercise and strenuous lifting over that time period to lower risk of further bleeding or the wound opening, which would result in greater scarring. You will receive aftercare instructions for wound care while the stitches are in place. UV protection – wearing at least SPF 30 – is recommended particularly over the first year as scar maturation progresses. This may lower the risk of developing permanent pigmentation changes of the scar. Further recommendations about scar massage and sometimes silicone gel or sheeting may be discussed to reduce appearance of the final scar.
How Can I Protect My Skin from Skin Cancer?
Daily sunscreen use and minimizing UV exposure are recommended to protect your skin from skin cancer. You should also check your skin regularly for any signs of cancer and see your family physician or dermatologist regularly for professional screening.
What Does a Cancerous Mole Look Like?
When monitoring your moles for skin cancer or concerning changes, an easy way is to follow the ABCDEs A Stands for asymmetrical shape, B stands for irregular border, C stands for change in color, D stands for large diameter, E stands for evolving size, shape, or colornIn order to most effectively detect skin cancer, you should check yourself regularly so that you can familiarize yourself with the normal appearance of your moles. It may also be helpful to take serial photographs to monitor for changes. Skin cancer is most treatable early on, so you should see your family physician or dermatologist urgently if you have medical concerns about your moles.
Will Insurance Cover Cosmetic Mole Removal?
Removal of moles that are medically concerning may be covered by provincial insurance after assessment by your physician. If there are no suspicious findings and your moles are considered purely cosmetic, it is unlikely that your cosmetic removal procedure will be covered. However, we encourage each patient to check with your provider and undergo assessment with your regular physician prior to a consultation for cosmetic removal.
Will I Have a Scar After Cosmetic Mole Removal?
Scarring is a risk of any surgical procedure, but there are steps you can take to reduce the appearance of a scar after surgery. Cosmetic mole removal is performed meticulously and the aftercare is equally important. Washing the site daily with soap and water followed by light application of Vaseline is recommended during early healing. Following stitch removal, scar massage is important to desensitize the scar and to break up immature scar tissue. Sunscreen is important, particularly over the first year, to lower risk of pigmentation changes. Dr. Power will make specific recommendations for you based on your procedure and risk factors for scarring. Silicone gel or sheeting and steroid injection may be further options to reduce scarring.
Can a Mole Return After Being Removed?
There is a risk of recurrence following cosmetic mole removal, particularly after shave excision. If a mole recurs after cosmetic removal, repeat excision may be an option. The technique may vary depending on your specific case. If you are considering cosmetic mole removal, contact our office to schedule consultation with Dr. Stephanie Power.
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