Mole Removal

MOLE REMOVAL by SKINLIFE – GALDERMA CANADA’S NO. 1 COSMETIC CLINIC

SKINLIFE CLINIC has been providing surgical mole removal since 2008. Mole removal at SKINLIFE is an in-clinic minor surgical procedure performed using specialized tools operated under high power magnification. During the initial examination, the use of a dermatoscope is implemented for a precise evaluation of the mole(s). Commonly the removal sites are closed with fine suture lines or tissue adhesives for a cosmetically excellent and speedy recovery. After the removal process, certain mole tissue sample may undergo an in-house microscopic exam to assess the completeness of removal or be sent out for a histopathology report as medically required.

What is a mole?

Moles refer to certain types of benign (non-cancerous) tumors composed of pigment-producing cells (melanocytes) that colonize the epidermis (upper layer of skin) and sometimes the dermis (lower layer of skin). While there exist many different types of moles, some of the commonly observed types include the following three:

 

  • Junctional Nevus: a junctional nevus is a light to dark brown coloured, oval-shaped flat mole, and is the shallowest of the three types. A small junctional nevus (typically less than 3mm diameter on healthy facial skin) may be treated with laser yielding a positive cosmetic outcome. Larger sized lesions require surgical removal for the best cosmetic result.
  • Intradermal Nevus (also known as the Dermal Nevus): an intradermal nevus is a light brown or skin coloured, oval-shaped raised mole, which sits deep inside the skin. Due to the depth of the mole, intradermal nevi are best treated using surgical methods, as a laser removal typically results in a higher chance of recurrence and scarring.
  • Compound Nevus: a compound nevus typically has a brown coloured, oval-shaped raised center sitting on a flat oval-shaped brown spot. It is generally less dark than a junctional nevus and less raised than an intradermal nevus.


Certain skin cancers may appear with characteristics that closely resemble those of a mole, and, if suspected, require further biopsies and/or special removal techniques. Therefore, ready access to dermastocopy, as equipped by SKINLIFE CLINIC, is essential prior to removal so that the telltale signs of skin cancers that are not readily visible to the naked eye can be revealed and the appropriate measures taken.

How moles are removed

Moles (Benign Nevi) can be safely removed in a minor surgical procedure during which the mole of intended removal is cut away from the normal skin, either via excision or shaving of the mole, with specialized mole removal equipment and closed with fine sutures. Alternatively, a highly sophisticated digital photo-plasma system, which has a much higher safety and precision level than that of laser or some of the commonly used electrosurgical devices, can also be used for moles that are deemed suitable for non-surgical removal by the physician.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
  • Is there a chance of recurrence?

Surgical mole removal has the highest success rate and nearly always results in a complete and permanent removal of the mole. Other treatment methods have varying degrees of success, depending on the type, size, and location of the mole.

  • Isn’t a laser or other methods that “burn off” the lesions better?

The destruction (ablation) methods include laser and electrosurgical devices, which essentially remove the mole by burning. While surgical mole removal methods preserve the mole tissue for possible examination if needed to test for safety, ablation destroys the mole tissue in the removal process, making further examination impossible. The ablation methods may pose further issues such as:

 

  1. Collateral skin damage in the surrounding skin, which slows down healing and precipitates an unnecessary inflammatory process, ultimately increasing the chance of potential problems of scarring, hyperpigmentation and prolonged redness;.
  2. Charring or bleeding is often caused by some lasers (e.g. CO2 laser) and other electrosurgical devices, which restricts the performing physician from accurately assessing the treatment area. Other lasers (such as ER:YAG laser) or electrosurgical devices that may be programmed to minimize charring often cause bleeding, which also makes the assessment of the target removal region difficult. As a result, the chance of recurrence is high, especially for deeper moles and/or those located in areas of the skin with deep pores (e.g. nose).

 

Although laser/electrosurgical mole removal methods seem economical as the treatment duration required per mole is significantly shorter, a repeat procedure that may become necessary due to an incomplete removal eventually makes the overall economical efficiency less than if a proper surgical removal had been performed in the first place. Furthermore, laser removal is often available far more readily by a larger pool of providers at competitive treatment rates, possibly due to the level of skills, knowledge and experience required for surgical removal being higher than that needed for non-surgical removal. In terms of possible scarring, for a given mole of the same size, location and depth, micro-surgical mole removal typically results in a significantly lower chance of scarring and hyperpigmentation than using laser or an electrosurgical unit. In conclusion, while laser mole removal on the surface level may appear economically efficient, micro-surgical mole removal is superior in many aspects of the treatment result including cosmetic outcome, recurrence, complications, and the speed of recovery. Therefore, it is crucial to consider and research all possible options for a safe, complete and efficient removal beyond what is commonly available.

  • What is the recovery process like?

After surgical mole removal, the skin is may be closed with either suture (stitches) or tissue adhesive (skin glue). Generally, if sutured, the stitches are removed in five to six days for moles removed from the head and/or neck; and typically a longer duration is awaited until stitch removal for elsewhere on the body. If glued, the adhesive falls off on its own in a week or less. Some small moles (generally less than 3mm diameter) in selected areas may heal well even when they are left unclosed; in such cases, small hydrocolloid bandages are placed over the removal site, to be replaced a few times a day for a minimum of 72 hours.

 

 

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