How to Prevent Scarring After Mole Removal
The most common reason why moles are removed from the skin is that they are just in an uncomfortable location. If a mole is malignant, some people might need to have it removed. In either case, failing to properly care after a mole removal surgery could result in a scar. Keep reading this article for additional details on how to prevent scarring if you recently underwent a procedure that left a mole removal scar.
Whether there will be scarring following the mole removal procedure depends on three factors. These factors include the patient’s age, the location of the mole on the body, and the type of surgery they have for mole removal. Naturally, you’ll want to reduce the scar’s visibility as much as you can.
What exactly is mole removal?
A mole is removed from your skin by a medical doctor by shaving or cutting it. A doctor is a medical professional who focuses on identifying and treating skin conditions. Your medical practitioner can check the mole for potential skin cancer via a brief outpatient procedure. Additionally, some people remove moles for aesthetic reasons.
What exactly is a mole?
Moles can vary in color from the original skin tone to brown, pink, or black, and they frequently arise during your childhood or teen years. Darker hair and skin are more likely to get darker moles than lighter hair and skin. Moles on the skin could be flat or elevated. Your doctor may call your mole a nevus (pronounced “nee-vis”) or perhaps a group of moles called “nevi” (pronounced “neev-eye”).
When you reach adulthood, it’s typical to have between 10 and 40 moles. Some moles develop gradually and may become lighter or vanish with time. The majority of moles are safe, but if you’ve got any worries about how one looks, or if it changes shape or color, itches, or bleeds, you should consult a healthcare professional.
Moles can occasionally be precancerous or skin cancerous. Contact your healthcare practitioner if your mole bleeds, itches, isn’t round or oval-shaped, or if its appearance changes.
Mole removal: why?
Atypical moles on the face, arms, neck, legs, or chest are treated with mole removal. Your doctor could advise removing an unusual mole so they can perform a biopsy to determine whether the development is precancerous or cancerous (malignant). Additionally, if your doctor was able to remove your mole with good margins (that area from around the mole), it might be possible to treat skin cancer that hasn’t spread by removing the mole.
If you don’t like the way a mole looks or is situated, your doctor may also remove it.
What happens before this procedure?
Your healthcare expert examines your skin before performing a mole removal procedure. They might take photographs of your moles for a later comparison. To examine more closely at the mole and decide how to effectively remove it, they might also use a device called a dermoscope.
The skin-removal locations will be marked on your body by your doctor. The area will then be cleaned. You’ll be given analgesic medication (anesthetic). You could either receive an injection at the surgical site or this could be given topically to your skin. You’ll occasionally receive both.
How can doctors remove moles?
The two primary procedures for removing moles are shave excision and surgical excision. Both methods of mole removal have advantages and disadvantages, just like any medical operation. Your doctor can advise you on the best course of action.
Shave excision is another method used frequently to remove moles. Instead of cutting a mole out, your doctor might be capable of removing it by shaving. A tissue sample from a shave excision can be used for analysis, and after healing, most people are happy with the results. Shave excision, however, cannot be utilized to identify distinct forms of skin cancer or to examine deep tumor margins.
Your healthcare professional delicately trims the growth to the level of the skin surrounding it using a single or even a double-bladed razor during shave excision mole removal. To minimize the visibility of any scars after healing, they might cauterize (lightly burn) the region surrounding the mole that was removed.
In comparison to surgical excision, moles excised using a razor incision are slightly likely to reappear.
Excision is a method that is frequently used to remove moles. Your doctor uses a scalpel to cut your mole away from the remainder of the skin after numbing and cleaning the area. To guarantee that each of the abnormal cells is eliminated, they may take a margin from healthy skin depending on the kind of mole. They will lift a mole away after grabbing the portion with forceps. Bleeding is common, and before stitching the region back together, your surgeon will apply pressure or burn (cauterize) the area to halt the bleeding.
What about lasers and other potential mole removal techniques?
Although certain medical professionals have in the past removed moles with lasers, electric current (cautery), or liquid nitrogen (cryotherapy), these procedures are often not advised. By employing these methods, there won’t be a sample of your mole available for analysis to determine the type of mole it is. Additionally, after these treatments, moles are often more likely to return (recur). Benign moles that return after nonsurgical excision can exhibit signs of skin cancer.
What happens following this procedure?
Your doctor will remove your mole and then apply Vaseline® (petroleum jelly) to the area before bandaging it. For a few days, you must keep the area wet (with the jelly) and clean it every day.
What benefits come with surgical mole removal?
The primary benefit of having a mole removed is that your doctor may perform testing to see if the mole indicates skin cancer. You will be able to begin any additional skin cancer therapy you want as soon as the mole is removed, which may lessen the likelihood that your cancer may metastasize (spread to other body regions).
Moreover, a lot of people who undergo mole removal are pleased with their appearance after healing.
What are the possible risks or complications with this procedure?
It’s a low-risk treatment where your doctor removes the mole in their clinic. However, there are various risks with every treatment. Mole removal procedures carry the following risks:
- Scars(that might or might not be noticeable)
- Nerve damage
- The mole could reappear (recur).
How long will the healing process take?
The method the health doctor utilized to remove the mole affects how long it takes for the scar to heal. The many ways for eliminating moles consist of:
- Shaving: Among the most popular methods for removing moles, shaving may leave your skin pink for a while and frequently leaves minimal scarring.
- Surgical removal: To totally remove a mole, the surgeon needs to cut down the fat beneath the skin when the mole appears large enough, usually with a diameter larger than 8 millimeters. If the wound is larger, it may be more football-shaped rather than circular. The skin will be repaired by a surgeon.
- Laser: This procedure may not always leave no scars but is more successful with shallow moles.
- Radio wave: According to some researchers, this method leaves very minor scarring.
There are three stages to the healing of a scar following a mole removal procedure:
- Inflammatory stage: This initial phase lasts for around 5 days and begins about 12 hours after surgery.
- Proliferation stage: Beginning within about 24 hours of the removal and lasting for about 7 days, this stage overlaps with the inflammatory phase.
- Maturation stage: This last step may last up to a year following surgery.
Within 1-2 weeks following a mole removal procedure, doctors normally remove the sutures. Surgical excision of moles normally requires a 4-week recovery period.
The body will typically continue to reshape a scar for at least a year.
How to prevent scarring after mole removal
A number of treatments as well as preventive measures can be used to either avoid leaving a prominent scar or at least minimize one.
Consult your doctor first before attempting any of these techniques. After removing a mole, you don’t want to put yourself in danger of infection or another problem. Furthermore, you don’t want to take any actions that could worsen the scarring.
1. Stay out of the sun
Consider if exposure to the sun can impact a wound that is healing. Sun can harm good skin. If exposed to UV radiation on a frequent basis, a newly formed wound is much more prone to darken and change color.
Make sure that the scar is protected when outside by strong sunscreen (at most SPF 30). Cover the scar if you can with sun-protective clothing. After the procedure, try to continue this routine for at least 6 months.
2. Avoid stretching the scar.
For instance, if a scar is located on the back of the hand, extensive movement or stretching of such skin may delay healing and result in a larger scar. This might not be a big deal unless the surgical scar occurs on a part of your body where the skin doesn’t stretch in various directions too regularly, like your shin.
Be gentle on the skin from around the scar as much as you can to prevent pulling.
3. Keep the wound site moist and clean.
If skin wounds are clean and moist, they usually heal more entirely. Dry wounds & scars typically require more time to heal and are less likely to disappear.
When the wound is still healing, a moisturizing ointment like petroleum jelly applied underneath a bandage could be sufficient to prevent scarring. Once scar tissue has developed, consult your doctor about wearing silicone strips or a silicone gel (Aveeno, Nivea) for a number of hours each day.
Unless your doctor advises you to use an antibiotic ointment, you don’t need one. Unnecessary use of an antibiotic ointment may result in consequences including bacterial resistance or contact dermatitis.
4. Massaging the scar
You might be ready to begin massaging the scar two weeks following a mole removal procedure, once your stitches are out and the scab has fallen off. It’s crucial to avoid pulling the scab off because doing so could exacerbate scarring.
Wait for the scab to naturally disappear if it takes more than 2 weeks to come off. Using 2 fingers to make circular motions on the skin all around the scar and on it. Next, rub the scar both horizontally and vertically.
Pressure should be gradually increased after a light initial pressure. While you don’t wish for it to hurt, you desire the pressure to just be sufficient to energize the skin and guarantee that the skin is receiving a sufficient amount of collagen to repair. Additionally, you can rub cream or lotion on the scar.
5. Apply pressure therapy.
It is possible to cover the wound with a specific pressure bandage. Depending on where the scar is, it can be a form of pressure stockings or sleeves or an elastic band. The effectiveness of pressure therapy can take several months. In terms of treating the scar on the face, it is not really an option.
6. Utilize a polyurethane dressing.
These pads are flexible and wet enough to assist with scar healing virtually anyplace. A polyurethane dressing should be used for roughly six weeks to prevent the development of a raised scar. It’s possible that using a pressure pad in conjunction with keeping a wound moist will be more beneficial than just using pressure or hydrating.
7. Try out laser and light therapies.
Numerous scar types respond well to pulse dye and laser treatment. Usually, they are utilized to reduce the size and visibility of larger scars. Even while it may occasionally take more than 1 appointment, you might only need one treatment to get positive benefits.
8. Try corticosteroid injections.
Hormones called corticosteroids lessen inflammation. Various ailments affecting the joints, skin, or other regions of the body are treated with them. Injections of corticosteroids are frequently used for keloid scars to help shrink elevated scars and improve their appearance.
There is a chance that the injection site may develop new scar tissue once more and show some discoloration. Sometimes only one therapy is required, but more often than not, several treatments are required.
9. Freeze with cryosurgery
Scar tissue is frozen and destroyed during this treatment, progressively reducing its size. To further minimize scar size, other treatments, like the chemotherapy agent bleomycin, may be administered.
Hypertrophic and keloid scars are two types of bigger scars that are typically treated with cryosurgery. A single treatment has a 50% reduction in scar size.
Consistent and proactive care
Speak with your doctor regarding your alternatives if you’re going to get a mole removal procedure to reduce scarring. Ask what you could do after the treatment to help keep your scar as light and thin as possible and express your worries up front.
Some of these techniques involve weeks or even months of work, but only if you are patient with them will it work.
If you try a method and it doesn’t work, talk to your doctor about potential future surgery.
Call Us Now
If you are considering mole removal in Orange County but still need more information about this surgery, don’t worry about it at Dr. George Brennan – Cosmetic Surgeon in Newport Beach, our local surgeon, Dr. George Brennan, MD will give you info, tips, and advice and all things that you need to know. Schedule an appointment now or call us at (949) 644-1641.