Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"How do you remove moles?"
I have a bad mole on my arm that I want to get rid of. How do I have it removed? Will a doctor have it removed if nothing is wrong with it? I want it removed just because I don't like the way it looks.
"Bad" moles are something that keep dermatologists busy. In general, moles need to come off if they start growing or changing in shape, have irregular borders, start bleeding, or are cosmetically bothersome. Most moles are simply areas of pigmentation that will not ever cause problems, but they can develop into skin cancers over time which is why any time a mole starts to change in shape it is always recommended to have your doctor evaluate it. In addition, moles are quite often removed for cosmetic reasons, particularly if they are on a part of the body where they are clearly visible. You can start with seeing your primary care physician who can evaluate the mole and then help you get a referral to a dermatologist. Depending upon the size and depth of the mole, as well as its location, dermatologists can often remove moles in the office. You will have an injection of numbing medication and then the mole can be removed, checked with pathology for evidence of cancer or other problems. With small moles, you may need one or two stitches to close the area. If the mole is on the face or larger, you may need a minor surgical procedure to remove the mole. However, your dermatologist can go over the options and give you information about how complicated the removal process would be.
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