If you are considering having a mole removed it is understandable that you will want to know if you will be left with a scar. Scarring concerns everyone, of course, but it’s particularly important if you are having a mole removed from a part of your body which is exposed on a day-to-day basis, like your face, neck, upper back and torso and lower leg.
A mole removal scar will vary from person to person depending on your age, the method used to remove your mole and the location of the mole as well as the condition or your skin. Your diligence with your aftercare will make a difference too, though we will provide the support you need to help minimise scarring.
If your mole has been removed using the shave excision technique, then the chances of visible scarring are minimised. This is because during a shave excision we will use a scalpel-like tool to carefully remove the mole, usually resulting in the edges of the affected area blending well with the surrounding skin. stitches are often not required with this technique which again helps to reduce the chances of scarring.
Surgical excision of the mole involves cutting out the entire mole using a scalpel. This means we need to go deeper into the skin layer and close the incision with stitches. This means there is more chance of a small scar as a result of surgical excision mole removal.
The benefits of scarring
A scar is your body’s natural way to heal the skin after a wound, so it’s beneficial in that it helps prevent infection. Initially, the wound should heal with a hard, crusty layer which will eventually drop off when the wound has closed and the skin bonded together.
In the first two to three months after surgery expect the area to be slightly red but this will gradually fade to pink and eventually to white. In most instances, the scarring fades so that it is barely noticeable to anyone but you.
The importance of aftercare
To minimise a mole removal scar it’s important to take good care of your skin in the immediate aftermath of your treatment as well as ongoing. We will provide tailored advice before you leave hospital, but the following advice will apply to all.
- Avoid stretching
Your scar will heal best if it is not stretched, so make sure you can take it easy for a few days after your treatment. We appreciate this isn’t always convenient but with a little forward planning, you should be able to avoid moving the area too much.
Think ahead and get organised before you attend hospital. Consider the day-to-day activities you do which would involve moving the affected area. For example, perhaps someone can help you with household chores like cooking and cleaning or to do your shopping, so you don’t need to lift heavy bags. With a little forward planning and some help from friends and relatives, you should be able to reduce movement on the affected area.
- Keep the wound clean and hydrated
When you leave the hospital, your wound will be covered by a light dressing which can be removed at home after a few days.
Depending on where the wound site is, you may need to apply more dressings in the initial stages of healing, just to keep it clean and to avoid the wound coming into contact with clothing (though this may not be necessary in all cases). It’s best to avoid touching the wound area to reduce the risk of infection. When the dressing is permanently removed, try to keep the area clean and use a moisturiser like Vaseline to keep it hydrated.
- Attend your follow-up appointment
If you have any concerns you are invited to attend a follow-up appointment around two weeks after surgery, though you can get in touch with us at any time if you have any queries or concerns. At this appointment we will examine the wound area and check that it is healing properly, providing any tailored advice for ongoing recovery.
Having said this, the vast majority of moles are removed with predictably neat scarring and without incident and further review is often not needed.
Our advice for mole removal scarring is to be patient. Most patients’ scars gradually heal to a point where they are barely noticeable, though it can take several months to settle.
What to do next
The first step in your treatment journey is to book an initial consultation with one of our experienced plastic surgeons. During this consultation, your surgeon will examine the mole and advise the best mole removal treatment. It is also an opportunity for you to ask any questions you may have about any aspect of treatment.