Moles are made up of the pigment forming cells called melanocytes. The medical name is nevi or nevus. There are many different types of moles. Removal of a mole is performed under local anaesthetic. Surgical options include excision biopsy (this removes the entire mole) or shave biopsy (which removes just the top half). It is recommended to have the entire mole removed even if it is just for cosmetic reasons as the remaining portion of the mole can be hard to visualise and there is a very small risk that if it were to turn cancerous it would be very hard to spot in the early phases. Dr Nelson will counsel you about the best option for you. Should you choose to have a mole removed Dr Nelson will first cleanse the skin before excising the mole in an ellipse. The mole will be sent for analysis (histology).

Will I have stitches?

Dr Nelson almost always uses dissolvable stitches (sutures) so there is no need to worry about having them removed. The ellipse will be sutured using two layers of sutures. The first layer is placed under the skin to provide strength and ensure the wound is closed without any tension. A top stitch is then placed. The area will then be dressed with a medical dressing. You should avoid placing any tension on the sutures as this can lead to a wide scar forming. Dr Nelson advises the wound is kept dry for 2 days. Sporting activity should be avoided for at least the first 10 days depending on the site of the surgery.

How long will the scar be?

Typically the scar will be two to three times as long as the mole. This is because in order to remove the mole an elliptical shape has to be made to allow the skin edges to be reapproximated in a way that heals leaving the finest scar possible.

Will I be told if the mole was cancerous?

Any mole removed should be sent for histology. Dr Nelson will inform you of the results of your surgery usually within 4 weeks. The fee for your mole removal includes having it tested by a consultant pathologist.


For Wood MediSpa Okehampton please call: 01837 516629 | For The Duchy Hospital, Truro please call Claire on 07812 095769 or email: enquiries@tobynelsondermatology.com. A referral from your GP is preferred.