Mole removal, like any procedure, carries with it some risks. Nevertheless, the removal procedure, no matter which type you elect to undergo, is minimally invasive. Still, it's important that you understand the risks before you proceed, especially if you're choosing to have a mole removed for cosmetic or comfort reasons and not health reasons.
Perhaps the most serious risk of mole removal, but one of the most rare as well, is nerve damage. If your doctor excises too much of the skin or a scalpel, laser or cauterization tool goes awry, the nerve endings in your skin can be damaged. This typically can result in a loss of feeling and/or pain or discomfort in the area, potentially in the long term. This is especially a concern when the mole is in a delicate area, such as on the face or on a joint. Nevertheless, the chances of nerve damage during this procedure are generally small.
You will be practically guaranteed to be left with some form of a scar following mole removal. If you are opting to have the procedure performed for cosmetic reasons, you should be aware of the fact that you'll be left with a scar in place of the mole. However, some forms of excision are more likely to leave obvious scars than others, such as cauterization. A lot depends on the size and depth of the mole as well. The smaller the mole, the smaller the scar.
You can decrease your risk of obvious scarring by following your post-procedure instructions for care of the area. This generally involves keeping the area dry (unless instructed to cover with ointment) and covered with a bandage for one to two weeks after the procedure. You must also allow scabs to form and refrain from picking them off. Let scabs fall of naturally in order to ensure less obvious scarring. Once your wounds have fully healed, you can also look into skin creams and treatments that dull the appearance of scars.
A potential risk of virtually any medical procedure is infection and mole removal is no exception. If you keep your treated area clean, dry (or covered with ointment, if instructed) and covered for a week or two after the treatment, you'll significantly decrease your risk of infection. Nevertheless, keep an eye on the wound for signs of infection, which include:
- Excessive redness
- Excessive swelling
- Tenderness to the touch
- Green or white pus from the wound
- The wound being hot to the touch
If you suspect that you have an infection, you should contact your doctor immediately. Because the mole removal procedure is so minimally invasive, you may not even be given antibiotics unless you show signs of infection.
While mole removal carries some risks, it's sometimes necessary, especially if your mole shows signs of being irregular and your doctor suspects skin cancer or another health complication. Plus, you can decrease your risks by choosing a competent specialist to perform the procedure and taking proper care of your wound following the procedure.