Skin Moles – what are the options?
Moles are small, coloured spots on the skin made up of cells called melanocytes, which produce the colour (pigment) in your skin – often a brownish colour. They are usually circular or oval with a smooth edge and lie flat on the skin but they can form a dome shape. Moles commonly change in appearance throughout a person’s lifetime and any changes should be checked by your GP or a skin specialist.
While most moles are harmless and don’t require treatment, in rare cases they may develop into melanoma (skin cancer). Melanomas usually appear as a new, rapidly changing mole or as a pre-existing mole that changes size, shape or colour and bleeds, itches or reddens. If you have any concerns about a mole, your GP will refer you to a specialist dermatologist to check for abnormal cells.
In the majority of cases however, a patient will want a mole removing for cosmetic reasons. It may be in an obvious or embarrassing place, which may affect their confidence. It could become a nuisance and may regularly catch on clothing or be easily cut whilst shaving. In these cases, cosmetic mole removal is not available on the NHS and treatment needs to be sought privately.
What will happen at my consultation?
If you contact The Raglan Suite about your mole, the first step will be a consultation with Dr. Rachel Doswell, an experienced GP who has further training in dermatology. She will perform a thorough mole check and advise on whether removal treatment is required or is advisable. Having undertaken training with The Royal College of Surgeons, she will be able to talk you through the options for treatment at the time of the consultation. This will depend on the type of the mole, its size, location and the patient’s preference.
All moles and pigmented lesions that we do remove are sent for biopsy to ensure they are innocent in nature. Any moles that look suspicious are referred back to the patient’s GP for NHS management as we are not a skin cancer service.
How is my mole removed
Mole removal is typically done within a 30 to 60 minute appointment and is relatively painless.
Moles are treated with a local anesthetic and then removed using a rugby ball shaped excision. A small area of the surrounding skin is also removed in rder to create a more aesthetic scar. Stitches are required to close the skin and are reviewed after 7-10 days. A small scar in unavoidable but will fade over time.
Raised skin moles can often be shaved down, leaving a raised mole flat once again. The area will be numbed with a local anesthetic beforehand and usually only a small pink mark will be left. Again, this fades over time and by 12 weeks is usually barely visible.
Cryotherapy or liquid nitrogen
Some types of warty moles (called seborrheic warts or seborrheic keratosis) that are non-cancerous and haven’t grown to the deeper layers of skin can be frozen off using liquid nitrogen. This is very effective and does not require an anaesthetic, making it an attractive option for patients with a fear of needles.
Can I remove my mole at home?
There are many sites that offer advice on at-home mole removal treatment options. However, it is always recommended to visit a GP first to determine if it I safe to do so and to advise the best course of treatment. A doctor can ensure that a mole is removed properly, with little complications and chance of scarring.
Can a mole come back after treatment?
In some cases, a mole can return after treatment. There is a small chance that some mole cells were missed and can grow back. While this is usually not the case, no treatment is 100% effective.
For moles where there is change or concern, whether it is abnormal or not, it is best to consult your GP for an onward referral to a specialist dermatologist. At The Raglan Suite, you can book a specific appointment for Dr. Doswell to check a single mole or carry out a full body assessment. If she has any concerns regarding the nature of your mole, you will be referred on to a Specialist Dermatologist for evaluation. It is not our policy to remove suspected skin cancers.
If you are concerned about a mole, call Raglan Suite Skin today and book your free consultation with Dr. Rachel Doswell.