What are Moles/Nevi?
Moles, also known as nevi, are common growths that can occur anywhere on the skin. They form when nevus cells grow into clusters. While many moles are harmless, some moles may develop atypical features. An atypical mole may be bigger than a common mole, and its surface, border, and colouring may also be different. If you have a concern that you may have an atypical mole, you may need to have it biopsied, to determine its microscopic features and whether it is cancerous.
Moles/Nevi Treatment Options
A skin biopsy is typically performed on atypical appearing moles to determine whether skin cancer is present. Following the biopsy, the skin cells will be sent to a lab to test whether abnormal cells are present. The three main types of skin biopsies include:
Shave Biopsy: A razor-like tool is used to remove several layers of the mole above the fat.
Punch Biopsy: A circular tool is used to remove a small section of the mole, including a couple of deeper layers of fat.
Excisional Biopsy: A scalpel is used to remove an area of the skin, including a border of extra skin down to the fatty layer.
For moles that are not atypical but may be bothersome or unsightly, surgical excision or shaving can be performed to remove them.
Who is a Good Candidate for Moles/Nevi Treatment?
Individuals who have a normal mole that is disliked or bothersome can benefit from mole/nevi treatment. Individuals who think they may have an atypical mole, can have it checked to get a diagnosis and then consider treatment. If you are unsure if your mole is atypical, you can consider the ABCDE rule as a starting point of reference. If you notice any of the following changes in your mole, it is best to see a dermatologist for an in-person assessment of your mole.
Asymmetry: Your mole is asymmetrical, or one side does not match the other.
Border Irregularity: The mole has an irregular or jagged border.
Colour Change: Your mole has changed colour or has multiple colours in it.
Diameter: The diameter of the mole is greater than 6 mm.
Evolution: The mole has evolved, or changed, in size, shape, or colour over time.
What to Expect After Moles/Nevi Treatment?
Following a mole biopsy, you will be instructed to keep the bandage over the treatment site until the next day. Small amounts of bleeding may occur, for 1-2 days after the procedure. All biopsies will cause a small scar; however, they tend to become less noticeable over time. Overall healing of the biopsy wound may take several weeks, depending on the size of the incision. Dr. Beach will provide you with specific instructions on how to best care for your biopsy site while it heals.
Contact Us Today
If you are interested in learning more about mole removal or treatment options, contact our office today! We will be happy to advise you on how to schedule your consultation with Dr. Beach to get you started on your mole treatment journey.