WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO REMOVE A MOLE?
We have three choices:
1 – Excision with stitches
2 – Shave excision
3 – Leave it alone
(Reminder: This applies only to benign-appearing moles that we are removing for cosmetic purposes.)
EXCISION WITH STITCHES:
This is also called a “full thickness excision” and is essentially just cutting the mole out in the same way that we would cut out a skin cancer (see figure). This is the only method that removes the entire mole because we actually go deep enough (down to the subcutaneous fat) to remove the lesion in its entirety.
This is a method where we use a flat scalpel or razor blade and simply numb up and shave off the mole (we shave it flat). This method gives the best cosmetic result provided that two criteria are met. Criteria #1 – the mole is raised enough that it is easy to shave off; Criteria #2 – the mole is in a “good” location that tends to heal well and with minimal scarring . An example of a “good” location is the face. An example of a “bad” location in some people is the chest or shoulders. However, even in a “bad” location, the right mole (the raised fleshy kind) can be shaved off with an excellent cosmetic result.
OR LEAVE IT ALONE:
I have included choice #3 because sometimes it is best to just leave a mole alone. For example, if the mole is relatively flat and we would have to “scoop” it out. Whenever we have to “scoop” a mole out rather than just shave it flat, the scar tends to be worse than the original mole. On the other hand, whenever we remove a mole that is raised enough that we can simply shave it flat, the mark left (if any) tends to look better than the original mole.