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Mole Removal

Facts on Mole Removal

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:
  • 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 overemphasized. 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 6/2/2016
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Melanoma

Melanomas most often arise on normal skin, but they may also occasionally occur in conjunction with a benign nevus (beauty mark or birthmark). The identification of potentially malignant pigmented lesions is best remembered by using the first five letters of the alphabet as follows:

  • A for asymmetry
  • B for border irregularity
  • C for color multiplicity
  • D for diameter greater than ¼ inch
  • E for evolution (change) in the size and/or shape

Melanomas may ulcerate and bleed and occasionally cause these lesions to itch or burn. In summary, melanomas are most often pigmented, asymmetric with respect to color and shape, and tend to enlarge or change over time. The presence or absence of hair follicles is of no significance.


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