Moles can grow on any part of the face and body, appearing in a variety of types, shapes, and sizes. A person can be born with a mole (a congenital mole), or it can develop later in life. Typically, moles are benign which means that they are not a sign of skin cancer. However, they can still be a nuisance and require removal because they catch on clothing or distract people with their unsightly appearance. Other times, moles might be so suspicious-looking that they are removed and biopsied for diagnosing purposes. Regardless of what type of mole you have, it is important to have a plastic surgeon remove moles located in cosmetically sensitive areas such as the face utilizing optimal closure techniques.
Dr. Barrett performs many mole excisions for various reasons and treats each individual mole as its own procedure, just like with other surgeries. Precise excision with multi-layer closure relieving skin tension is key to reducing scars. This method, followed with aggressive post excision scar management, will make it difficult to tell that anything was there in the first place!
Anyone with a mole that they want removed for cosmetic or medical reasons in cosmetically sensitive areas is a prime candidate for surgery. Cosmetically sensitive areas usually refer to the face, eyelids, nose, lips, neck, arms, breasts, shoulders, hands, and legs. As a helpful tip, many medical insurance plans cover mole excision surgery if the moles appear suspicious in nature.
Results and Recovery
The primary goal of mole removal surgery is complete removal of the mole such that it does not grow back. Oftentimes, dermatologists and primary care providers will perform shave biopsies or chemical/laser/freeze ablation as a quick solution, but we discourage these treatments as they rarely lead to optimal cosmetic results. In many cases, the mole even comes back. Precise surgical excision removes the base of the mole so that it does not return and results in a minimal fine line scar.
Recovery is typically two weeks for healing. While absorbable stitches have become rather popular, Dr. Barrett discourages them because they can cause inflammation when the body tries to break down the suture. As a better alternative, he uses non-reactive sutures that are removed at week one and two post-surgery. After all the stitches are removed, patients begin a taping protocol for an additional two more weeks to provide optimal healing and sun protection. After taping, our patients then start a 3-month scar gel treatment protocol to optimize and minimize scar remodeling and reduction. To ensure optimal results, patients should avoid swimming, bathing, or hot tubs for the first two weeks following surgery.