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Mole Removal

Mole Removal Introduction

Patient Comments

Moles, or nevi, are frequently removed for a variety of reasons. They can be removed by two surgical methods:

  • Excision (cutting), with or without stitches
  • Shave removal using a scalpel blade without stitches

Although laser excision has been tried for moles, it is not the method of choice for most deep moles because the laser light doesn't penetrate deeply enough, and there is no tissue remaining to examine pathologically.

Typically, the dermatologist (a skin specialist) may choose excision with or without stitches, depending on the depth of the mole and the type of cosmetic outcome desired.

  • What is a mole?
    • Many people refer to a mole as any dark spot or irregularity in the skin. Doctors use different terms. But the following types of skin marks such as these are not treated the same way moles are and are not discussed here:
      • Birthmarks
      • Abnormal formations of blood vessels (hemangiomas)
      • Keratoses (benign or precancerous spots, which appear after about age 30 years)
  • What causes moles?
    • Some people are born with moles. Other moles appear later in life.
    • Sun exposure seems to play a role in the development of moles and may even play a role in the development of atypical, or dysplastic, moles.
    • The role of heredity cannot be underemphasized. Many families have a type of mole known as dysplastic (atypical), which can be associated with a higher frequency of melanoma.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/5/2014
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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Atypical Mole (Dysplastic Nervus) »

In 1820, Norris proposed an association between nevi and melanoma.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


Medical Dictionary