Mole (Nevi) Removal

There’s a fine line between a beauty mark that’s considered attractive on your face and a mole, spot or lesion anywhere on your body that you don’t want. You may have flat, irregular, or raised areas on your skin that you consider unsightly or potential cancer risk.

Moles – also called nevi – can be tiny or giant, including rare genetic congenital disabilities as large as 15 inches. Whether it’s one or several, big or small, a plastic surgeon can help.

At Faith Regional Physicians Services in Norfolk, Nebraska, we offer expert consultation and meticulous mole-removal procedures. There are surgical and nonsurgical approaches for varied types of skin lesions.   

How a Plastic Surgeon Can Help

Our board-certified plastic surgeon is experienced in treating delicate skin areas with care. Your doctor will use leading-edge skills and precise techniques to remove moles or other skin marks and irregularities. Plastic surgeons are trained in operating with careful techniques that protect healthy skin and minimize scarring.

For minor lesions or skin imperfections, the doctor may advise nonsurgical options such as shaving, dermabrasion, laser treatments, or other skin resurfacing and rejuvenation therapies.

What to Know About Marks and Moles

A mole is a dark spot or raised cluster of pigmented cells on your skin. Color can range from red, neutral, or light brown to dark brown. Most people have moles from birth (congenital) that may appear almost anywhere on the body.

They can range from flat dark spots and blotches to raised, circular moles of varied sizes and shades. Skin lesions can grow and change over time. Most are harmless, but it’s important to know and watch for warning signs of cancer. Report any suspicious symptoms to your doctor without delay. 

Skin cancer warning signs include:

  • Uneven shape or irregular borders
  • Multiple or uneven colors
  • Any changes in size, color, or shape
  • Diameter of ¼ inch or more
  • Itching or bleeding

Meeting with the Surgeon

Your Faith Regional doctor will evaluate moles or other lesions. The surgeon will assess your skin, discuss your goals and expectations and advise you about surgical or nonsurgical options.

For larger moles, the doctor may recommend additional treatments such as laser resurfacing after mole removal. Whatever your condition, there are many cosmetic procedures and skincare options to consider.

Risks of Surgery  

Although complications are uncommon, it’s important to fully understand both benefits and risks of any procedure. Your doctor will inform you of risks relative to your condition and procedure. Potential complications include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Scarring
  • Poor wound healing

Other complications include moles that return after surgical or nonsurgical treatment. These may require a follow-up surgical procedure.

Before Surgery  

Your doctor will review your procedure steps with you and answer questions during initial office visits. Your pre-surgery office visit may include:

  • Facial evaluation and photos
  • Lab testing, health evaluation, and medical history
  • Pre-treatment instructions

Surgery to Remove Moles or Irregularities

Minor lesion treatments can be done in the doctor’s office. Others may be done in an outpatient surgery center. Typical lesion removal procedures are quick and painless and you won’t have any downtime. Your doctor will tell you what to expect for your specific procedure. Steps of surgery are generally as follows:

  • The area will be thoroughly cleaned and sterilized, and you’ll receive a local, topical anesthetic.
  • The surgeon will remove the entire mole including a small margin of the surrounding skin. The surgeon cuts around the lesion and removes it.
  • Large or giant nevi may require more than one procedure. If the mole is in a contoured location such as on the head, the incision closure is more complex. Your doctor may recommend a skin graft to help the skin heal.
  • If the mole has hair, the surgeon may need to make a deeper incision to reach and remove hair follicles. Hair-removal laser treatment is also an option.
  • When the procedure is complete, your surgeon closes incisions with stitches and covers the area with a bandage.
  • Your doctor may send moles or other tissues to a lab for biopsy. Removing a cancerous mole can be a lifesaving step.

After Surgery

In most instances, you can go back to normal daily activities after the surgery.

  • You’ll need to keep a bandage on for 5 to 7 days to protect the wound. Avoid direct sun exposure which can darken the area and increase visible scarring.
  • Your practitioners will schedule a follow-up visit. The surgeon will evaluate the area treated and discuss care.
  • If you have sutures, your doctor removes them after about a week during a follow-up visit.
  • You shouldn’t experience any pain other than mild tenderness or itching.

Scarring and Scar Treatment

Some scarring is inevitable with any surgery. Most people find it preferable to the lesion that was removed.

Scarring can vary depending on variables such as:

  • Skin quality
  • Skin tone
  • Lifestyle habits
  • Surgical technique
  • Depth of mole and incision
  • Sun exposure
  • Genetic traits

Depending on the size of the lesion and type of surgery, scars are typically subtle and subside with time. It can take a few weeks or up to a year for scars to fade as much as expected. Your doctor can recommend effective scar treatment measures.

Other Considerations

If the mole had hair, hair strands might remain unless the surgery went deep enough to remove follicles. A follow-up laser procedure can help treat unwanted hair follicles.

Your doctor will notify you of the biopsy results. If problems are found, the doctor will talk with you about the next steps, including additional treatment and consultation with a specialist.

Your Plastic Surgery Team

At Faith Regional, your plastic surgeon, a specialized nurse and other healthcare professionals such as an advanced care practitioner and aesthetician may be involved in your care.

Dr. Mark Shashikant

Schedule a Consultation

You can reach us at 402-844-8167 or email frpsclinics@frhs.org to schedule an appointment.