Mole is benign growth that can occur anywhere on your body. It can be of different color, shapes and sizes. Most moles grow during early years of life till adulthood. Any mole that grows after 30 years could be suspicious.
An average individual is expected to have anywhere between 10-40 moles throughout his life.
A mole is removed for a number of reasons such as irritation, cosmetic or medical. Modern technology provides for a number of ways of getting rid of a mole. It is important for you to first understand your mole and then choose the removal procedure in consultation with your dermatologist.
If your mole changes shape, color, structure or even bleeds, irritates or elevates etc. you must meet a skin specialist immediately to figure out the right course of action for the mole.
If it is purely for cosmetic reasons, insurance might not cover it. Medical removals are mostly covered depending on your plan.
“Irrespective of the reason for removal, it is absolutely recommended to have a mole biopsy.
Why is a mole biopsy important?
To put it simply, a mole biopsy is done to evaluate its cancerous properties. The samples of mole tissue are sent for pathological examination in the laboratory. It is the first step in mole removal process.
No matter how small or big your lesion is, it is always important to have a biopsy done. It is equally important to conduct monthly skin checks at home to look for suspicious looking lesions, change in old ones or growth of new ones could be a sign of melanoma.
Most modern procedure such as laser, electrocautery, cryosurgery etc. doesn’t have a provision for the mole to be biopsied. They work by destroying all mole tissues leaving no specimen to be tested.
Hence, most doctors don’t recommend it but they’re still widely used to achieve good cosmetic results after the mole is deemed benign by the skin specialist.
How is a mole biopsy done?
Shave, excision with stitches and punch procedure usually send the removed lesion or part of it to the lab for testing.
1. The process begins by examining the skin growth with a handheld mirror and a dermatoscope to understand how deep the mole penetrates into the skin.
2. He/she further cleans the area and numbs it using a local anesthetic.
3. Depending on the size and structure mole, the doctor either makes a horizontal cut using a sharp medical blade for superficial moles or a deeper cut if the mole reaches deeper layers of skin.
4. The site is stitch closed in case of excision.
5. It usually takes 1-2 weeks for the biopsy results.
6. If it’s a melanoma, then further treatment is required. Your dermatologist will explain the next steps.
There may be redness, swelling or even pain after the procedure but its quite normal.
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