Mole Removal Surgery

Mole Removal Surgery

Mole removal surgery works in a variety of ways, depending on the technique chosen.

Preparing for Surgery

Before surgery you will have a series of consultations with a doctor or dermatologist. These usually last 30 minutes to one hour and involve discussions on the moles to be removed, the removal techniques available as well as the associated risks and benefits. Once the patient is happy with the anticipated procedure an appointment for removal will be arranged.

The Surgical Procedure

Mole removal operations are relatively simple and so they are normally carried out as an in-office visit or in a doctor’s surgical suite. Patients are given a local anesthetic to help them to relax, although, if the mole is expected to be difficult to remove, a general anesthetic may be administered. The procedure usually takes about an hour, although this can vary depending on the number of moles that are being removed and the technique that is being used. There are four main types of procedure available

Mole Shaving

This technique is used for raised moles. The surgeon shaves the mole using a scalpel until it is reduced to the level of the surrounding skin. A border of skin is normally removed as well. As only the surface of the skin is removed melanocytes, the specialized cells that cause moles, could remain causing the mole to re-grow. However, according to Brighton Laser and Skin Clinic, re-growth only occurs in three to five percent of moles removed by this technique.

Cutting with Stitches

A scalpel and scissors are used to cut out the full depth of the mole. The wound is then sealed using stitches. As Dermatologist Joel Schlessinger highlights “moles removed by excision (cutting) with stitches are usually darker in color or flat moles, or both.” It is also the technique used for moles that are suspected to be cancerous.

Laser treatment

In this method, the beam from the laser heats the melanocyte cells that form the mole, causing them to break down. These cells are then absorbed into the body as the wound heals. This technique does not normally leave a scar and there is no need for stitches as the laser seals them blood vessels itself.  However, it is only suitable for small, flat moles as the laser does not penetrate very deeply.

Mole Freezing

This method is referred to as cyrotherapy. Forceps are used to apply liquid nitrogen to the mole in order to freeze it. It is then removed using a scalpel and the wound is sealed using stitches.


This technique, known as cauterization, involves burning the mole away using a specialized cautery tool. The wound is automatically sealed using the tool and so stitches are not used.

After Care

There is no re-cooperation period after the procedure and so patients can usually go home straight away. Once the local anaesthetic has worn off the area around the wound may be red and slightly swollen. However, pain killers can be prescribed before you return home to avoid discomfort. For the procedures where stitches have not been used a scab will form where the mole was. This will fall off in one to two weeks and the redness will disappear within four weeks.

As Schlessinger explains, for procedures that used stitches “facial sutures are typically removed within four to seven days. Stitches elsewhere are usually removed from eight to 21 days.” As with any surgery there is a risk of infection. However, this can be reduced by keeping the wound dry for 24 hours after the surgery and by applying antiseptic cream to the wound twice a day.

Joel Schlessinger is a Board Certified Dermatologist working for Skin Specialists, P.C. More information can be found at

Brighton Laser and Skin Clinic perform mole, skin and hair removal operations. Details can be found at:

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