What are Moles?
Popular thinking considers a mole as any dark spot or skin irregularity. Moles are dark marks on the skin. Some are flush and others are raised. The medical community calls moles “nevi.” Nevi are clusters of darker pigmented cells. Their color ranges. They can develop on any skin, even under nails and between fingers and toes.
Dr. Gallacher can surgically remove moles under local anesthesia right in the office.
Some people are born with moles. Moles can also appear with age. The number of moles on a body changes throughout a person’s life. Most people have between 10 and 40 moles on their bodies. Because moles last about 50 years, some moles fade with age. The tendency to develop moles can run in families. Sun exposure may influence their growth and impact their development.
Most moles are harmless, but some become cancerous. Doctors watch moles and other skin abnormalities to diagnose skin cancers. Not all melanomas develop from moles. Many develop in or near areas of darker pigment.
Dr. Gallacher does not include birthmarks, abnormal blood vessels, or keratoses (benign or precancerous spots) when considering surgical mole removal.
What Are the Benefits of Mole Removal?
Protruding moles may get in the way of shaving. They may snag or rub on jewelry and clothing. This can cause skin irritation. Some people may simply desire mole-free skin for a smoother, cleaner and clearer appearance. Mole removal may improve self-esteem.
Best of all, if Dr. Gallacher suspect that a mole may be pre-cancerous, removing it reduces health risks.
How Does Dr. Gallacher Remove Moles?
Dr. Gallacher prepares the area by cleansing it well. A local anesthetic numbs the area.
The type of mole to be removed dictates the surgical technique that Dr. Gallacher will use.
For large or deep moles, she may stitch. Stitches can be placed deep beneath the skin’s surface or placed along the upper layer of skin. Dr. Gallacher may excise very large nevi in stages (called staged excision). With staged excision, Dr. Gallacher removes a little more of the mole each time until it is completely removed.
Dr. Gallacher may recommend a no-stitch procedure. For this, she uses a scalpel to shave the mole flush with the surrounding skin. She then cauterizes the area to stop any bleeding. A topical antibiotic salve reduces the risk of infection.