Moles are relatively common but often harmless. However, a small proportion of moles can turn cancerous especially following excessive sun exposure. These need to be recognised early. Moles that tend to be of concern are those that have changed recently. Important changes include an increase in size, a change in colour or if they are itching and bleeding. Caucasians have a higher risk of moles turning nasty. If you are concerned that you have a mole that has changed recently, it is very important to have this looked at immediately.
What are moles?
Moles are a type of lesion that can occur on any part of the body. Moles are by definition normally darker than the surrounding skin and this is due to large amounts of melanin concentrated in a single area. Melanin is what gives us our skin colour and is produced by cells called melanocytes. The more melanin we have the darker our skin colour. Adult can typically have between 10 to 40 moles at any one time.
What do moles look like?
As well their darker colour, moles can be flush with the skin or raised. This can vary between individuals and ethnicities. They don’t hurt and are normally not irritating unless on areas of the body where they catch on clothing – for example on the back or around bra straps. Moles tend to occur more commonly on areas of the body that are exposed to the sun and hence commonly occur on the face, arms, chest and back, especially in fair skinned individuals.
How can a mole be removed?
The size, location and whether a mole is flat or raised can all impact on how it is best removed. Often, the best technique for the removal of moles is to have a local excision – i.e. cut out. Recovery is quick and repeat treatments are often not needed. Excision of moles can be carried out using a number of different techniques.
Smaller moles are amenable to a punch biopsy technique and the wound is closed with a couple of stitches. The stitches often need to be removed in 7 to 10 days time. Any subsequent scar is very small and heals very well. The procedure is carried out under local anaesthetic. The only discomfort that is felt is the sting from the local anaesthetic. The procedure is otherwise painless. Multiple moles can be removed in the same session.
The derma blade is a curved, flexible blade that can be used to remove a variety of small lesions. Smaller moles that are raised with a narrow base can be removed using the dermablade technique. The derma blade may not be a suitable option for moles with a wider flatter base. This technique is performed under local anaesthetic.
This is the gold standard technique for the removal of most moles. This technique is especially good for larger moles and is suitable for any part of the body. It involves cutting around the mole in the form of an ellipse. This means that the resultant scar is slightly longer than the length of the mole. The resultant scar is completely flat with no rippling or puckering of the skin. Where the mole is quite large and on certain regions of the body, modifications to this technique are required for a good cosmetic finish. This technique is carried out under local anaesthetic. Stitches often need to be removed in 7 to 10 days time although absorbable stitches can also be used.
Any form of mole excision will leave a small scar. The larger the mole, the larger the scar. Moles on the back, tend to result in a more prominent scar. Those of Asian and Afro-Caribbean backgrounds are at greater risk of developing raised (hypertrophic) or keloid scars, especially on the back, shoulder, chest and ears. The removal of moles on the face and neck tend to heal extremely well.
The cryopen is a popular technique for removing skin lesions. The cryopen uses liquid nitrogen to freeze the mole and over the course of a couple of weeks this will shrink and eventually fall off. Repeat treatments may be necessary. Cryotherapy is often painless and fast. Some small moles can be treated with the cryopen but often this is not the best solution for larger moles.
Laser and plasma treatments can be used to remove moles. Results can be variable. These are usually best for very small, flat moles and not the best option for larger raised moles.
It is normally possible to have multiple moles removed at the same sitting. This is often dependent upon the technique used and also at the discretion of the doctor. A consultation beforehand is extremely important. The number of moles that can be removed is also often dependent upon their size and the subsequent dose of local anaesthetic required.
At Rejuvence Medical we can provide a histopathology service. This allows us to confirm the mole removed is not cancerous in origin. There is, however, an additional cost for this service. Prior to proceeding with any excision we will conduct a thorough assessment of your moles in clinic and if we feel that there is a risk that it could be cancerous in nature we will arrange for an urgent referral to a specialist in the private sector or help arrange an urgent review with your NHS GP.
Mr Irfan Halim
MBBS MSc FRCS GDipLaw DIC MBA
All minor surgery services at Rejuvence Medical are provided by Mr. Irfan Halim. Mr Halim is a Consultant General Surgeon. He has a specialist interest in gastrointestinal and laparoscopic surgery as well as endoscopy.
Qualified from Guy’s and St.Thomas’ Medical School with Distinction, Mr Halim subsequently trained in General Surgery sub specialising in Laparoscopic Gastrointestinal Surgery. He is blessed with fantastic surgical skills and always strives for the best possible outcomes. Mr Halim provides a bespoke treatment package for all his patients.
Mr Halim is extremely well sought after, practising at several highly prestigious private establishments including BMI The London Independent Hospital, The Blackheath Hospital, BMI Hendon Hospitals as well as Highgate Hospital. He performs a large number of cases, seeing 300 new patients a month and performs on average more than 1200 procedures per year. His outcomes are excellent and regularly audits his work. Friends and family as well as colleagues always favour Mr Halim over others. We are so pleased to have him as part of the team at Rejuvence Medical. You really could not be in better hands.
Mole removal at Rejuvence Medical
At Rejuvence Medical we specialise in the removal of moles with excellent cosmetic results. All mole excisions are performed under high power magnification. We have a wealth of experience, especially when it comes to removing moles from delicate areas of the face and ears. Our team of highly qualified doctors always aim to provide an excellent service with excellent cosmesis, especially in the case of larger, more awkward moles. We are CQC registered and you can rest assured that you will be delighted with our service.