Mole removal is done in one of two ways.
- When there is any doubt about whether the mole might be a Malignant Melanoma
- For cosmetic or mechanical (moles catching in clothing etc) reasons
Will I reduce my chances of melanoma by removing moles?
It is a common misconception that you can reduce the chances of developing Malignant Melanoma by removing normal moles. The chances are in fact greater to develop a Malignant Melanoma in previously normal skin than to develop a Malignant Melanoma in a pre-existing mole.
How does mole removal work for suspicious looking moles?
If there is any doubt that a mole might be a Malignant Melanoma the mole must be completely excised and sent to the laboratory for histological evaluation. If it does prove to be a Malignant Melanoma, a wider re-excision is generally necessary.
How does mole removal work for non-suspicious looking moles?
Moles removed for cosmetic or mechanical reasons can be removed by a technique called shave excision where the mole is literally shaved flush with the skin. No stitches are needed and the cosmetic outcome is generally better compared to excision with stitching. The mole will routinely still be sent to the laboratory.