Mole removal is a surgical procedure that is aimed to rid the face of any unwanted moles for aesthetic purposes. Dr. Gary Linkov is a skilled facial plastic surgeon who performs mole removal at City Facial Plastics in Midtown, Manhattan. His expertise in face & neck procedures can ensure the mole is removed without leaving a visible scar, improving the overall appearance of your face or neck.
What Is Mole Removal?
Mole removal, especially on the face, involves a surgical procedure. The main options are shave removal or excisional removal. Laser can sometimes be used to lighten and flatten a mole. The most important factor when treating a mole is to properly sample it, if appropriate, to determine if it is cancer (such as melanoma). A secondary priority is to leave the smallest footprint possible on the face upon mole removal.
Different lesions on the face can be present from birth and grow in proportion to facial development. Other lesions can suddenly change color or size and warrant an investigation. A mole, or nevus, is a type of skin lesion that some people want to be removed for cosmetic reasons and others need removed to confirm that it is not dangerous.
What Are the Types of Moles?
Dark moles, or nevi, of the head and neck, are a common concern among patients. Moles come in a variety of subtypes, including:
- Compound and intradermal mole – Well-circumscribed, dome-shaped papules frequently localized to the head and neck. Compound nevi are hyper pigmented and intradermal nevi are skin-colored or slightly red. These lesions are usually asymptomatic but may be irritated with shaving or rubbed by clothing.
- Junctional mole – Flat, benign, macules of even pigmentation
- Dysplastic mole – Share features of pigment irregularity and uneven borders with malignant melanoma. For this reason, surgical removal is recommended to ascertain diagnosis.
- Spitz mole – Less common melanocytic lesion that clinically appears as a red papule on the head of a child or adolescent.
What Are the Types of Benign Facial Moles?
A nevus, or mole, includes a few different varieties. The typical “beauty mark” mole is flat and usually brown. Flat mole removal can be performed with laser therapy, as they are often only on the surface of the skin. A few laser treatments can be effective at removing these types of moles.
Protruding moles are often the nevi that are most distracting, warranting removal for cosmetic reasons. The roots of the mole run deep in the skin, usually requiring more than laser therapy to remove. An incision or a shaving technique may be used, depending on the location and size of the mole.
Skin tags are different than colored moles. They are usually small, protruding growths of skin-colored cells. These can quickly be removed during an office visit.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Mole Removal?
The following scenarios lend best to qualifying someone for mole removal:
- Mole since birth causing a cosmetic disturbance
- Existing mole that is changing in size or color
- New mole that continues to grow
Indications for biopsy include asymmetry of the lesion, border irregularity, color variegation, diameter >6mm, and evolution, or change of the lesion.
How Is Mole Removal Done?
There are four main approaches to skin mole removal:
A punch biopsy is used to obtain full-thickness skin specimens. A disposable circular blade on a handle is rotated down through the epidermis, dermis, and into the subcutaneous fat. This results in a cylindrical core of tissue that can then be analyzed under the microscope. The defect that results is closed with a suture. A punch biopsy samples a portion of the mole and is typically not intended to remove the entire mole. If there is a concern for a malignant lesion, this is the diagnostic method of choice.
Laser mole removal, such as a quality-switched neodymium-doped: yttrium aluminum garnet (Q-switched Nd: YAG) laser, may result in lightening and/or flattening of the lesions. However, most clinicians advocate surgical removal in order to have a dermatopathologist evaluate the tissue for any signs of malignancy.
Benign moles may be flattened with shave removal. The benefit of this approach is that no sutures are needed and no linear scar forms. The wound bed heals within 10-14 days and the redness gradually fades. The lesion will likely return (recur) with this method, though the exact timeline is difficult to predict. Another drawback to shave biopsy of a mole is that sometimes the pigment extends deeper into the skin and may not be entirely removed with a shave. Lastly, a shave may make it more challenging to fully excise later as the borders become less distinct.
If a melanoma is suspected, an excisional biopsy should be performed to help with the diagnosis and guide treatment. A benign mole can also be excised as the definitive treatment so that it does not return. Sutures are needed and careful closure is very important on the face. A scar will form but can be minimized with good surgical technique and certain post-procedure treatments such as laser resurfacing if needed.
How to Prepare for the Mole Removal?
Once you have decided to undergo skin mole removal, plastic surgeon in UES, Manhattan Dr. Linkov will discuss in detail how to prepare for your surgery.
There are a few steps you should take before this type of surgery to get the best results. These steps include:
- Avoiding certain medications and supplements that may thin the blood, such as:
- NSAIDS – ibuprofen (Motrin) and naproxen
- Vitamin E
- Stop smoking, as tobacco products can decrease blood flow to the skin and compromise the healing of the surgical site
- Pick up medications at a pharmacy if prescribed, such as:
- An antibiotic
- Pain medication
What to Expect on the Day of Procedure?
If indicated, you will take the antibiotic in the office just before surgery. Skin mole removal surgery is performed under local anesthesia (lidocaine) so the pain will be minimal to none during your procedure. Sterile technique is used to prevent infection. The timing of the actual procedure varies, but it takes approximately 30 minutes – 1 hour. Including time spent checking in to the mole removal doctors office, marking out the surgical sites, anesthesia injections, surgery, and recovery, you should plan to be at your doctor’s office for about 1 hour.
What Is the Recovery From Mole Removal?
Recovery from flat or raised mole removal depends on the exact technique used. The treated area is covered with a bandage right after the procedure which can be removed the following day. It is okay to shower the day after the procedure. Localized bruising and swelling are possible for 1-2 weeks, especially if a larger mole is removed.
A shave biopsy will take about 10-14 for the skin to grow back. If sutures are placed they are removed on day 5 or 6 after surgery. The incision can stay red for weeks to months. Scar gel is recommended for incisions for up to 3 months once the skin seals closed at about 10-14 days. It is best to avoid direct sun exposure to the treated area for several months after surgery.
What Are the Risks and Complications From Mole Removal?
Risks and complications of mole removal surgery include:
- Poor scarring
- Undesirable aesthetic result
- Nerve damage
- Recurrence (from incomplete removal)
Will Mole Removal Leave a Scar?
Most approaches to skin mole removal do leave a scar, though some may not be noticeable.
If a scar forms and is unacceptable to the patient, the following scar revision options are available:
- Surgical revision
- Laser resurfacing
What Are the Contraindications for Mole Removal?
Though there are no absolute contraindications to mole removals, as these are relatively minor procedures.
Certain situations that would require a thorough discussion with your mole removal doctor include:
- Blood thinners that cannot be stopped
- Pregnant or breastfeeding
What Are the Alternatives to Mole Removal?
Patients may choose not to have their mole(s) removed and may opt for observation instead. Another option is to conceal the mole with makeup. Beware that certain websites suggest using home supplies such as scissors to remove a mole – this is extremely dangerous and may cause infection and other bodily harm. Avoid all do-it-yourself solutions.
Are Patients Satisfied After Mole Removal?
Whether for cosmetic purposes or to determine if a mole is worrisome, mole removal is associated with high satisfaction rates. Patients often find that people stare at them less after a mole has been removed and they feel more confident.
Is Mole Removal Covered by Insurance?
Mole removal in New York may be covered by insurance if the procedure is deemed medically necessary by your doctor. That is, if cancer is suspected and a biopsy is required, then insurance will likely pay. If, on the other hand, the surgery is done purely for cosmetic reasons then insurance will not cover it. Before undergoing the procedure, review your policy to find out if it will be covered by your insurance.
What Is the Cost of Mole Removal in Manhattan, NYC?
If you are paying out of pocket, the price of mole removal will vary based on several factors. Practice location and expertise of the surgeon are two of the main factors that will determine how much this type of surgery will cost. Another factor to consider is the size of the mole and the total number of moles to be removed, as some patients have multiple moles. For example, in New York City, the cost of mole removal surgery ranges from $1000 to over $3000 per mole.
Who Is the Best Mole Removal Surgeon in NYC?
Dr. Gary Linkov is a board-certified facial plastic surgeon in New York City, specializing in facial aesthetic surgery. Dr. Linkov is the best-rated mole removal specialist with extensive experience treating all conditions of the head and neck. He is the Chief of Otolaryngology and Facial Plastic Surgery for the Veterans Hospital in Brooklyn, NY, where he operates on complex facial conditions impacting our country’s veterans. Dr. Linkov’s private practice in Manhattan’s Upper East Side focuses on cosmetic and reconstructive facial surgery. He is an expert in skin tag and mole removal.
Mole Removal Before and After
If you have a mole you want to be removed for cosmetic purposes, contact City Facial Plastics in Manhattan, NY to schedule a consultation with a top-rated plastic surgeon Dr. Gary Linkov. Most cosmetic mole removals can be completed in our office with local anesthesia, and there is little to no downtime for recovery.