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Mole removals are carried out for a number of reasons, both medical and cosmetic.
Why would I need a mole removed?
If a mole is found to be cancerous, or contain abnormal pre-cancerous cells, removing them as soon as possible is very important. Your consultant may also recommend removing a mole if it looks suspicious and could potentially become problematic.
Many mole removals are carried out for cosmetic reasons too, or if a mole is situated somewhere on the body that’s causing discomfort or irritation, such as on the neck where it might be catching on jewellery.
Removing moles is usually a very straightforward and quick procedure carried out on a day case basis, which means you’ll be able to go home shortly afterwards. Local anaesthetic will be injected to numb the area first, so it won’t be painful.
Various techniques can be used, depending on the size and nature of the mole. If a mole is being removed for cosmetic purposes only, often a ‘shave biopsy’ will be performed – the dermatologist will use a very fine scalpel to ‘shave’ the mole off from the surface of the skin. If a mole is cancerous, or abnormal cells are suspected, then it’s often necessary to remove a section of the surrounding tissue as well, so a procedure called an ‘excision biopsy’ will be used. This means there will be a slightly deeper wound afterwards which will need to be stitched closed. The mole and the tissue that was removed will then be sent to the lab for testing.