Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Is laser skin treatment used to remove moles?"
My dermatologist wants to biopsy a mole. I am 27. Will he use a laser? How is this usually done?
Moles are collections of pigmented cells called melanocytes within the skin. Moles occasionally have a risk of turning into melanoma, which is a serious form of skin cancer. Therefore your doctor will often want to biopsy a mole if it has irregular borders or colors or if it is large or growing in size. Since melanomas have a tendency to invade under the skin rapidly, it is important to take out the entire mole during biopsy, rather than just sampling the tissue. Therefore, shaving and other minimal techniques are not used. Rather, your dermatologist will inject some numbing medicine and then cut out the spot completely, using stitches to close the hole that is left behind. Laser is an entirely different type of technology which uses light energy to treat certain types of skin conditions. However, when removing a mole, it is important to take it out intact without any damage so that the pathologist can look at it under a microscope and determine whether or not it is melanoma. For this reason, your options are somewhat limited, as excisional biopsy (cutting out the full mole) is really the only procedure which meets the demands of the job in this case. Talk to your dermatologist for more information.
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