There are two sides to every coin and when patients ask us, should I have this mole removed, it is sometimes difficult to give a straight answer and we will often come back with:
Three reasons to have your mole removed:
- You think it might be cancer. This is the main one. In these situations then the decision is easy and you really should have your mole removed. It is important to be vigilant and look out for the signs of cancer, (see our guide when to worry about a mole) and if there has been any recent change in your mole and any suspicion of cancer, then this trumps all the other reasons and the mole should be removed and sent away for histological analysis.
- Peace of mind. If the mole is not obviously cancerous, then we will often say that you can keep an eye on it and get in touch if there are any changes. We offer free consultations so you can always come back to the clinic to get it checked out and I am sure your GP will be able to keep an eye on things for you. However, some people are worried and when they start focusing on a particular mole, they are not sure whether it has changed of not ‘has it got bigger, has it just started itching, or is that me?‘. Sometimes the moles can be in difficult areas like your back, and it is difficult to keep an eye on things and so it might be easier to have it removed and then the problem has gone once and for all.
- I do not like the look of it. This is one of the most common reasons that we see patients in the clinic and we hear things like ‘I hate my mole’, or ‘I have never liked it’, or it may be nuisance and can be raised and catch on things, which makes them bleed or they may have hairs growing from them and it is this reason that probably needs the most discussion, because as you will see from the reasons not to remove a mole, mole removal does leave a scar and so you need to be confident that the scar will be preferable to the mole.
Three reasons not to remove your mole:
- It will leave a scar. Now just because we are plastic surgeons, it still does not mean that we do not leave scars. Of course a large part of our training is in tissue handling and wound closure, so we do take great care to leave neat scars and we have tricks of the trade that allow us to hide the scars or orientate them in such a way that makes them less obvious. However, at the end of the day removing a mole will leave a scar of some sort. It might be a thin line or a faint patch, depending on how it is removed (see shave or excision of mole) and scars do tend to fade particularly when they are on the face, and so it is often difficult to see where they were. However, in the early stages they are often red and obvious and you need to look after them to ensure that you get the best result possible.
- Your mole has always been a part of you. We specialise in breast and body contouring here at the Staiano Clinic and you cannot underestimate the effects of changing your body in some way. If you have had a mole for a long time, particularly if it is on a prominent area of your face, this is something that people will associate with you and you may look completely different without it. It can sometimes be difficult to come to terms with your new look and we have seen lives transformed with a simple 20 minute procedure removing a prominent mole on the nose or the forehead and it can be tremendous to see the positive effect of what some might call a ‘minor’ operation. Whilst the only person you need to convince is yourself, it can be helpful to talk to friends and family members to get their take on things, because at the end of the day a mole is a natural attribute whereas a scar is not. This is particularly true for people who want multiple moles removed because multiple scars might look more obvious than the moles themselves.
- Once it has gone you cannot go back. Obviously if there is a worry about skin cancer your mole needs to be removed, but if it is more of a cosmetic issue it is always good to take time to consider things and weigh up the pros and cons, because if you are not sure you can always go away and come back another day. Even if you come to one of our see and treat sessions, we will never pressurise you into having a mole removed, because we realise it can be a significant decision. There is no harm in delaying things, having a think, and talking it over with your friends and family. We will still be here a month, six months, or in a year’s time. You will never regret delaying the decision to have it removed, although you may think I wish I had done that years ago. However, once it is removed there is no turning back and the scar is permanent, although we would stress it is often more obvious in the early stages and so do not be too alarmed because it will fade.
For more details on what to look out for with a mole download our free guide here.
If you want to come for a free no obligation consultation with one of our plastic surgeons, please call or email us or fill in the on-line contact form.
Or you can ask our director, Jonathan Staiano, a question LIVE on Facebook at 7 o’clock every Tuesday evening, so feel free to drop in.