Moles are one of many kinds of skin lesion that you may want to have removed. A benign mole is not cancerous, but it can be a source of irritation. A simple surgical procedure can be used to excise the mole and restore your peace of mind.
What is a benign mole?
A mole (melanocytic naevus) is a dark-coloured skin lesion that most often appears during childhood. It is not unusual to have several and most are completely harmless. Sometimes a mole can change shape or size, which may indicate that it has become malignant, or cancerous. A benign mole is not cancerous, however, this does not mean that it cannot cause problems. Raised moles can catch on things and become inflamed or painful. Sometimes, particularly if they are larger, they may cause you discomfort or create issues with your appearance. If this is the case, there is a surgical procedure that can help.
The surgery is generally carried out under a local anaesthetic, so you will be awake and aware but unable to feel pain at the site of the mole. Firstly, an anti-bacterial solution will be used to ensure the area around the mole is clean and reduce the risk of infection. Another way to keep the area sterile is through use of a drape that surrounds the working area.
Actually removing the mole will require the surgeon to cut all around the edge, usually in an oval shape. Some normal skin surrounding the mole may also be removed. If there are concerns as to whether the mole is actually benign, it can be sent away for laboratory analysis. Once removed, the surgeon will close the wound. If it is small enough, this can be done with glue or adhesive strips, but larger incisions may require stitches. A dressing or plaster will then be used to cover it.
It should not be long after the surgery that you will be able to go home. Local anaesthetics can take an hour or two to wear off, so you may still feel numb. When the numbness stops, there may be some tenderness in the area and you should try and avoid touching or knocking it. Any pain should be manageable with over-the-counter medication such as Paracetamol or Ibuprofen.
Your surgeon or nurse may make an appointment with you to return to have your dressing changed in a few days, or your stitches removed in a few weeks. You should be able to return to work the next day, although if you have any bleeding or swelling you should contact your surgeon straight away. Side effects are generally minimal.
The surgical procedure for benign mole excision is simple and has few complications. If your benign mole is causing you discomfort, it can easily be removed and you will soon be able to return to everyday life feeling more confident.