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Houston Mole Removal

Moles on your skin can be unpredictable. Sometimes when present on a specific location a mole can increase beauty whereas other times it might make a person feel unattractive. But what actually are moles? And are they really bothersome? This page will help you get information regarding moles, their types, their causes, and techniques to get rid of them.
If you are looking for a Houston mole removal specialist, Nikko has expertise in mole removal while persevering the cosmetic appearance of the skin and minimizing scarring.

WHAT ARE MOLES?

When clusters of pigmented cells (melanocytes) grow on the skin, they make up a mole also called Nevi. They appear as dark brown spots and are usually small but may vary in size. For the most part, moles are harmless and develop during adolescence. They may fade over time. However, some moles may have a tendency to become cancerous.
Moles don’t have a specific area of growth. They can grow anywhere on your body including areas between your toes and fingers, scalp, under your nails, and armpits, etc. Many people have about 20 to 40 moles that occur by the age of 40.

WHAT DOES A MOLE LOOK LIKE?

Common moles have the following characteristics:

  • Moles appear in small spots to more than one inch i.e., around 2.5 centimeters.
  • They are symmetrical i.e., regular edges and shapes.
  • Moles might be flat or raised, rough or smooth and some may have hair growing from them.
  • Some moles are red initially but turn yellow, brown, tan, or black.

Atypical moles that are unusual possess the following features:

  • Are asymmetrical i.e., irregular edges and shapes.
  • Bigger in size than other moles on your skin
  • They appear in more than one color, i.e., brown moles with a tan or pink base.
  • They form on the skin areas that are exposed to the sun.
  • Atypical moles have a tendency to get melanoma.

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WHAT CAUSES MOLES?

Moles are the proliferation of cells that express the melanocytic phenotype. Various researches show that moles result from the driver mutation. Though what causes moles is not fully understood, there are multiple reasons that might trigger the formation of moles.

1. Exposure to Sun and UV Radiation

People with fair skin are more prone to get moles when exposed to UV radiation from tanning beds or the sun. Also, sunburns especially during childhood may contribute to the increased risk of developing moles on the body that might later turn into melanoma (skin cancer).

It is advised to make use of protective dressing and sunscreen to protect your skin from harmful sun rays. Also, avoid extended exposure to the sun, especially during peak hours.

 

2. Genetics

Moles can run in families. If your parents have moles there is a possibility that you might also get them. Moreover, gene mutation is also linked to the development of moles and melanoma. However, genetic factor is not the only causative agent for developing moles. There are multiple other reasons that contribute to it such as environmental factors.

 

3. Hormonal shift

There are phases in your life when your body undergoes major hormonal shifts such as during puberty and pregnancy. The hormonal changes during that time can trigger the development of moles on your skin.

During puberty, there is a significant hormonal shift that has a major impact on the skin’s appearance. Getting acne during puberty is one of those examples. These changes can lead to skin blemishes and an increased number of moles on your body.

A similar can happen during pregnancy; a woman can get a number of moles on her skin that might later on resolve after pregnancy is over. It is crucial to monitor changes in your moles because they might be a sign of skin cancer.

TYPES OF MOLES

Every mole looks more or less similar, but they are categorized into four different types.

1. Congenital Moles

As the name suggests these are moles that you are born with. It is in fact considered as a birth mark. Occurrence of congenital moles is around 1 to 2% of the population. They are usually present on the limbs or trunk but can be found anywhere on the body. Congenital nevi do not impose any health risk. However, with the increasing size of mole, there is a risk of developing melanoma later in life.

 

2. Dysplastic Nevi

Dysplastic nevi are abnormal moles. They are also called atypical moles. Now, the question is which moles are considered abnormal? Well, if a mole has an uneven surface or edge and is larger in size, it is an abnormal mole. Dysplastic moles can be raised above from the skin surface. These moles can also be discolored (from pink to brown) and may grow in size with a passage of time. Moreover, dysplastic moles have the tendency to transform into melanoma.

 

3. Acquired Nevi

Acquired nevi are the moles developing after birth. The number of acquired nevi usually increases with the increase in sun exposure especially in people with fair skin color.
Also, people having 50 or more acquired nevi have the higher chances of developing melanoma.

 

4. Spitz Nevi

Spitz nevi are atypical moles that are difficult to differentiate from melanoma unless a biopsy is performed. These moles are usually pink, dome shaped, and raised from the skin surface. It may appear in different colors such as black, red, and brown. Moreover, Spitz moles may leak pus and bleed.

WHAT IS MOLE REMOVAL?

Mole removal is a procedure of cutting or shaving the mole off your skin. The procedure is generally outpatient and quick. The best part is; it won’t hurt you once the mole area is numb. Mole removal treats abnormal moles on your neck, face, legs, arms, and torso.

 

Reasons for Mole Removal

Moles on your skin are usually harmless. But there is always a prospect of removing moles. Sometimes it’s due to cosmetic reasons whereas other times it’s because the mole looks suspicious and might be a source of melanoma.

 

1. Grounds for Cosmetic mole removal

Cosmetic mole removal may be undertaken if you find yourself insecure or dissatisfied with the presence of a mole. Moreover, moles can be eliminated if they pose issues such as snagging on clothing or if they interfere with the grooming of shaved or combed hair.

Once you made up your mind about mole removal, your dermatologist will consistently assess the appropriateness of this treatment. He/she will take into account factors that influence the achievement of optimal cosmetic results. These considerations include:

  • The nature of the mole – whether it is superficial or deep.
  • The coloration of the mole.
  • The specific location of the mole.
  • Your skin type.
  • Your age.

 

2. Grounds for Atypical Mole Removal

 

Due to the key significance of atypical moles being linked to melanomas, the ABCDE mnemonic (asymmetry, border irregularity, color unevenness, diameter of 6 mm or more, evolution) is a valuable tool for both clinicians and patients to recognize suspicious lesions.

The majority of atypical moles typically do not require removal, especially if they remain unchanged. However, should you notice any changes in a mole or if your dermatologist expresses concern about a specific mole, a biopsy and removal may be recommended.
Atypical moles are usually removed for one of two reasons:

 

  1. The atypical mole is identified as a melanoma.
  2. The mole exhibits such atypical characteristics that it is deemed at high risk for developing into a melanoma.

TECHNIQUES FOR MOLE REMOVAL

There are multiple techniques using which moles can be removed depending on the size, location, and nature. The most commonly used procedures for mole removal are as follows:

 

1. Freezing the mole off

The latest method for mole removal involves freezing them off using liquid nitrogen that is administered by a dermatologist. This causes the mole to subsequently fall off. This procedure is fast, painless, and associated with a low risk of scarring.

However, there are some factors to consider before you opt for this treatment:

  • Firstly, the mole may not be entirely eliminated, necessitating a follow-up visit.
  • Secondly, there could be a noticeable impact on the texture and taste, as the mole may feel different after thawing and may not be as palatable.
  • Lastly, the effects of the frozen mole are temporary, lasting approximately two weeks.

 

Precautions for Freezing Off a Mole
When considering freezing the mole off, it’s important to observe certain precautions. Here is a set of guidelines to prepare for the procedure:

  • Ensure the mole is clearly identified and documented to maintain accuracy during the freezing process.
  • Cleanse the area surrounding the mole with an antiseptic pad to minimize the risk of infection.
  • Apply numbing cream to the surrounding area to alleviate any potential pain or discomfort during the procedure.
  • Utilize liquid nitrogen to freeze off the mole, following the specific instructions provided by your doctor.
  • Monitor the treated site for any indications of infection or inflammation in the aftermath of the procedure.

 

2. Burning the mole off

The burning method involves the use of an electric current passing through a heated wire. This wire is employed to eliminate the upper layers of the skin. Multiple treatments may be necessary for complete mole removal. While the procedure may cause some discomfort, your doctor will alleviate this by numbing the area with an anesthetic before initiating the process. Furthermore, heat prevents bleeding of the mole.

 

3. Excision of the mole

Excision is a frequently employed method for mole removal. Following the cleansing and numbing of the targeted area, your surgeon will carefully detach the mole from the surrounding skin using a scalpel. Depending on the mole type, a margin of healthy skin may be taken to guarantee the removal of all atypical cells.
Subsequently, the mole is lifted away using forceps. It’s typical for some bleeding to occur. Therefore, either pressure is applied or cauterization is used to halt the bleeding before proceeding to stitch the area back together. Mole excision is often preferred if the mole is dark, raised, or potentially cancerous.

 

4. Shaving the Mole

Another commonly employed method for mole removal is shave excision. In this procedure, shaving is opted instead of cutting to eliminate a mole. Shave excision allows analysis of the mole since it provides tissue samples. Furthermore, individuals find it satisfactory to go through the healing process. This technique, however, is not suitable for examining deep tumor margins and cannot distinguish between different types of skin cancer.

During shave excision mole removal, the growth is shaved off delicately using a single or double-bladed razor, bringing it to the level of the surrounding skin. The area around the removed mole may also be lightly burned (cauterized) to enhance the appearance of any resulting scar after healing.

It’s worth noting that moles removed by shave excision have a somewhat higher likelihood of recurrence compared to those removed by surgical excision.

 

5. Laser Technique for Mole Removal

The laser technique is a non-surgical alternative to mole removal and is a preferred method if you are concerned about significant scarring and the potential for mole recurrence. Laser mole removal presents a less invasive option compared to surgical excision, as it does not involve cutting through the full thickness of the skin. This process resembles more of a graze than a wound resulting from a cut. Laser removal, in general, provides the overseeing doctor with greater precision.

Ablative lasers like Erbium-YAG and CO2 lasers enable the regulation of the depth to which the lasers penetrate the skin. By accurately controlling the amount of tissue vaporized with each shot, lasers can be precisely directed at the mole cells without causing damage to other skin layers.

 

Post- Procedural Measures

After the procedure is completed, your wound will require a period of healing. Depending on the mole’s depth and size, the recovery process may range from a few days to a few weeks. Mild scabbing may develop at the treatment site that will naturally fall off after a few days to reveal rejuvenated skin. The wound typically heals akin to a graze, achieving full smoothing in about two weeks.

Gently cleanse the area and pat it dry. If prescribed, use antiseptic wash and antibiotic ointment to maintain cleanliness. Moreover, ensure coverage with a hydrocolloid dressing to prevent dehydration of the wound. Continue this routine until the area is entirely healed.

Make sure that you are maintaining cleanliness, moisturize the wound, and shield the area from sun exposure. Also, you may consider postponing rigorous exercise, straining, or lifting for a few days. Not only this, but avoid activities like swimming, saunas, and hot tub use. It is advisable to abstain from alcohol consumption during the recovery phase. While keloid scarring is a possibility in some instances, various treatments are available to address such concerns.

These lasers are swiftly absorbed by water in the skin cells, allowing for the precise vaporization of only the cells forming the mole. Additionally, pigment lasers can also be employed for mole removal. Each type of mole removal method achieves a distinct balance between recurrence, scarring, and cost.

POTENTIAL COMPLICATIONS OF MOLE REMOVAL

Mole removal performed by a doctor carries a few associated risks, though most are unlikely, and severe complications are uncommon. These risks encompass:

  1. Reaction to the anesthetic, potentially leading to a headache or dizziness.
  2. Excessive bleeding.
  3. Injury to nerves or salivary glands, particularly if the mole is deeply embedded in the skin.
  4. Minor scarring.
  5. Infection in the wound.
  6. Delay in the healing process.

 

To minimize the risk of complications, consider the following tips:

 

  1. Inform your doctor about all medications and supplements, as some may increase the likelihood of bleeding.
  2. Discuss any concerns about scarring or mention a history of keloids with your dermatologist.
  3. If you observe discharge, swelling, or redness after mole removal, contact your doctor’s office promptly, as these symptoms could indicate an infection.

MOLE REMOVAL AT HOME IS HARMFUL

As you go through the process of mole removal, you might have the idea that mole removal at home is not a big deal. Well, attempting mole removal at home may seem convenient, but it comes with potential risks.

While it might be tempting to explore these methods to avoid a visit to the dermatologist, there is no credible evidence supporting the effectiveness of home treatments for mole removal, and some can pose dangers.

Studies have documented side effects from mole removal creams found in drugstores and online, leading to the formation of thick scars in the mole’s vicinity. Additionally, using sharp objects like scissors or razor blades to cut off moles carries its own set of risks, such as an increased chance of infection, particularly if the tools are not properly sanitized. This method may also result in a permanent scar replacing the removed mole.

A significant risk of self-removal is the inability to determine if a mole is cancerous, potentially including melanoma. If a mole is not professionally examined, and it turns out to be cancerous, it could lead to the spread of cancer throughout the body, posing a serious and life-threatening situation.

 

Cost of Mole Removal in Houston TX

As already said, the removal of a mole depends on factors such as its size, location on the body, and the expertise of your doctor, in addition to other considerations. Therefore, the cost of mole removal can vary significantly.

Typically, the expense for mole removal falls within the range of approximately $150 to over $1,500. For instance, a triple-board-certified plastic surgeon in the Houston area may charge between $150 and $500 for mole removal.

Takeaway 

If you are upset with the look of your mole or you are bothered by how suspicious it looks, it’s time you book an appointment with your dermatologist. Getting your mole removed will not only help you flaunt your desired look but will also save you from the risk of melanoma.

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FAQ

Is mole removal painful?

The degree of discomfort varies based on the method of removal. Typically, local anesthesia is administered to numb the area before the procedure, reducing pain throughout the process.

 

Is mole removal at home safe?

At-home mole removal is discouraged. It is due to the potential risks of infection, scarring, and the inability to determine if a mole is cancerous. It is recommended to seek professional medical guidance for safe and effective removal.

 

Is a bleeding mole a sign of cancer?

Potentially yes, Skin cancer could be a potential cause for a bleeding mole. If you notice a mole that is bleeding and exhibits asymmetry, variations in color, an indistinct border, increased size, or a change in shape, it is crucial to consult with a dermatologist.

 

When to have a mole checked by a doctor?

Arrange a consultation with your healthcare provider or a dermatologist if a painful mole shows no improvement within a week. Additionally, seek medical attention if you observe a new skin growth accompanied by the signs of asymmetrical shape, varied color, uneven borders, a size larger than a pencil eraser, or changes in shape or texture.

 

How long does it take for a mole removal wound to heal?

The duration of healing depends on the removal method and the individual’s healing ability. It may span from several days to a few weeks. Ensuring proper post-care, such as maintaining cleanliness in the area, is vital for optimal healing.

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