Mole Removal Surgery

Mole Removal Surgery

Risk of mole removal

Mole removal surgery can be done for cosmetic or medical purposes, but what are the risks involved?

Surgical Site Infection

As in any surgery, there is a risk of contracting an infection, known as a Surgical Site Infection (SSI). This can occur from two to three days after the operation up until the time the wound has healed.  Surgical Site Infections can reduce the time taken to recover, result in further time in hospital or visiting doctors and increase the overall cost of the procedure.

The risk of infection can be reduced by keeping the wound and bandage dry for at least 24 hours after surgery and by applying an antiseptic cream to the wound twice a day. If the bandage gets wet you should remove it slowly to avoid pulling off the scar tissue.

Anesthetic Allergy

The majority of mole removal surgery requires the patient to have at least a local anesthetic. If you are unknowingly allergic to anesthetic it can cause an anaphylactic reaction and even death.  An anaphylactic reaction causes difficulty in breathing, an increase in heart rate and low blood pressure as well as swelling of the face and mouth. However, severe reactions only occur once in every 5,000 to 25,000 anaesthetics and, of these cases, only 3.4% result in death. Additionally, both mild and severe anesthetic allergies can be easily treated using breathing tubes, intravenous fluids, and epinephrine (adrenaline).  Doctors, surgeons and anesthetists are well versed in spotting a reaction before it becomes serious.


According to Dermatologist Joel Schlessinger, “one of the most common difficulties after mole removal is a scar. Many people will attempt to remove moles for cosmetic reasons, not realizing that each and every removal may result in a scar.”

The type of the scar left is dependent on the size and shape of the original mole, the amount of tissue removed and the method used to remove it. For example, procedures that use sutures (stitches), such as mole shaving, commonly leave a white line scar whereas an elliptical excision, which uses scissors, can leave an ellipse shaped mark although this normally runs parallel to the skin’s creases and so is barely visible. As Schlessinger highlights “your surgeon can give you an idea of the type and location of a scar after mole removal before you make your decision about removal.”

Some scars will fade over time whilst others will become permanent.  Scarring can be reduced by keeping away from the sun and applying sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor of 15. Both of these measures prevent the scar from darkening. Another option is to undertake skin resurfacing, which will remove the scar completely although it will add to the cost of the procedure. In general, the level of scarring depends on the skills and expertise of the surgeon and so it is important to select a qualified, well reputed individual.

Mole Re-growth

In the mole shaving technique there is a risk that some of the melanocytes, the specialized skin cells that cause moles, will be left beneath the skin which can, over the course of several years, lead to the re-growth of the mole. However, according to Brighton Laser and Skin Clinic, re-growth only occurs in three to five percent of moles removed by this technique.

Skin Burns

In both cauterization (burning of moles) and cyrotherapy (freezing of moles) skin burns and legions could result. However, this risk should be minimal. As Schlessinger highlights “it is always prudent to choose a dermatologist or surgeon with appropriate skills and experience with these removals. This will decrease your risk associated with this procedure.”

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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