What to Expect After Mole Removal

Most people have anywhere between 10-40 moles that appear throughout their lifetime. Moles are common skin growths that can appear anywhere on the body. While most moles are harmless, some may be cause for concern due to their size, shape, or color. In these cases, it may be recommended to have the mole removed for further examination.

But what happens after your procedure? What should you expect during the mole removal recovery?

What Are the Procedures for Mole Removal?

  • Surgical Excision. Surgical excision is a common method for removing moles that have a deep base or are suspected to be cancerous. In this procedure, a healthcare professional uses a scalpel, laser, or another instrument to cut out the mole along with a margin of healthy skin. This method is effective in completely removing the mole and minimizing the chances of regrowth.
  • Freezing (Cryotherapy). Cryotherapy is a non-surgical technique used for non-cancerous mole removal. This method involves freezing the mole with liquid nitrogen, causing it to blister and eventually fall off. Cryotherapy is typically used for superficial moles and may require multiple treatment sessions for complete removal.
  • Laser Removal. Laser removal is another non-surgical option for removing moles. During this procedure, a focused beam of light targets and breaks down the pigment in the mole. Laser removal is suitable for smaller, non-cancerous moles located on the skin's surface layers. Multiple sessions may be necessary for optimal results.
  • Excisional Biopsy. An excisional biopsy involves surgically removing the entire mole or tumor using a surgical knife. This method is commonly used to extract suspicious moles for further examination, especially if there are concerns about skin cancer. The excised tissue is then sent to a lab for analysis to determine if any cancer cells are present.
  • Shave Removal. Shave removal is a technique where the mole is shaved off at the skin level using a scalpel or similar instrument. This method is often used for smaller, non-cancerous moles that protrude above the skin's surface. Shave removal typically does not require stitches and may result in minimal scarring.
  • Full-Thickness Skin Excision. Mole excision, also known as full-thickness skin excision, involves removing the mole down to the subcutaneous fat, the deepest layer of the skin. This method is effective for removing unsightly moles completely. The procedure aims to ensure thorough removal while minimizing scarring.
  • Excision Biopsy. In an excision biopsy, a specialist doctor removes the abnormal area, which may include the mole, to investigate if it indicates melanoma skin cancer. This procedure allows for a comprehensive examination of the tissue and assists in determining the presence of any cancerous cells.

What Happens After Your Mole Removal Surgery?

While you can return to normal activities immediately after your procedure, you must take precautions, especially when doing strenuous activities. Here's what to expect in the following hours and days after the procedure:

First 24 Hours

  • The area where the mole was removed may feel tender and sore.
  • You will have a bandage over the wound, which should be changed daily.
  • It is normal to experience some bleeding or oozing from the wound site.
  • You may also notice bruising or swelling around the area.

Days 1-3

  • The wound may continue to bleed or ooze, but it should gradually decrease.
  • You may experience some itching as the wound heals.
  • It is important to keep the wound clean and dry to prevent infection.

Days 3-5

  • The wound should start to scab over and heal.
  • You may need to apply an antibiotic ointment as directed by your doctor.
  • It is important to resist the urge to pick or scratch at the scab.

Days 5-10

  • The scab should start to fall off, revealing new pink skin underneath.
  • You may still experience some itching and discomfort as the wound continues to heal.
  • It is important to continue keeping the area clean and dry.

How Long Will a Mole Removal Scar Totally Heal?

The healing process of a mole removal scar can vary from person to person. Generally, it can take a few weeks to several months for the scar to fully heal and fade.

The factors that can affect the healing time include:

  • The Size and Depth of the Mole Removed. Larger moles or moles removed from deeper layers of the skin may result in a more significant scar.
  • Types of Mole. The type of mole removed can also affect the healing process. For example, a flat or superficial mole may heal faster and result in less scarring compared to a raised or deep-seated mole.
  • Your Healing Ability. Everyone's body heals at different rates, so your genetics and overall health can play a role in how long it takes for your scar to fade.
  • The Location of the Mole on the Body. Moles in body areas prone to stretching or movement, such as joints or the face, may take longer to heal.
  • Your Skin Type. People with darker skin tones tend to have more pigment-producing cells, which can result in a darker scar.
  • Following Aftercare Instructions. Proper wound care is crucial for promoting healing and minimizing scarring. It is

Following your doctor's aftercare instructions is essential to promote proper healing and minimize scarring.

Mole Removal Aftercare Tips for Speedy Recovery

To promote faster healing and minimize scarring, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Keep the Area Covered. Keeping the area covered for the first 24 to 48 hours after mole removal is advisable to protect the wound and promote healing. This can help prevent infections and minimize the risk of scarring.
  • Avoid Smoking and Alcohol. To aid in the healing process and reduce the likelihood of inflammation and scarring, it is recommended to avoid smoking, consuming alcohol, and using any blood-thinning substances during the recovery period.
  • Gentle Cleaning. After 24-48 hours, gently wash the wound site with cool water and mild soap to keep it clean. Avoid harsh chemicals like hydrogen peroxide or alcohol, as they can impede healing.
  • Avoid Picking or Scrubbing. Refrain from picking at, scrubbing, exfoliating, or shaving the area where the mole was removed. These actions can disrupt healing and increase the risk of complications.
  • Monitor Healing. Pay attention to the area around the wound for signs of infection, such as increased redness, swelling, or unusual discharge. If you notice any concerning symptoms, contact your healthcare provider promptly.
  • Bruising. Some bruising in the treated area is normal and should resolve within 7-14 days. Gentle massage and the application of arnica cream can help speed up the recovery of bruising post-mole removal.
  • Moisturize the Wound. Keeping the wound moist after mole removal is crucial as it may facilitate faster healing, potentially improving the overall recovery time. Use a gentle, fragrance-free moisturizer on the wound site to keep it hydrated.

When to Seek Medical Attention After a Mole Removal Procedure

Most mole removal procedures are simple and have minimal risks. However, some signs may indicate a complication and require medical attention. Contact your doctor if you experience any of the following:

  • Persistent bleeding from the wound that does not stop after applying pressure for 15 minutes.
  • Excessive swelling or redness around the wound site.
  • Fever, chills, or other flu-like symptoms.
  • Foul-smelling drainage from the wound.
  • Increasing pain or discomfort that is not relieved by over-the-counter pain medication.

Should You Have Your Moles Removed?

While most moles are harmless and do not require removal, there are some cases where it may be recommended for medical or cosmetic reasons. Some reasons to consider mole removal include:

  • Suspicious changes in color, size, or shape of the mole.
  • Family history of skin cancer.
  • Constant irritation from clothing or jewelry.
  • Unwanted appearance or location of the mole.

If you are unsure whether or not to have your mole removed, consult a skin specialist for an evaluation and personalized recommendation.

The Minor Surgery Center Offers Mole Removal Procedures With Minimal Scarring

The Minor Surgery Center specializes in minimally invasive mole removal procedures. We have a team of board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeons who can safely remove moles and minimize scarring. Our procedures are performed using state-of-the-art techniques and technology, ensuring the best possible outcomes for our patients.

Contact us today to learn more about our services or to schedule a consultation!

April 23, 2024