The Risks of Mole Removal Surgery

Mole removal surgery, like any form of surgery, has a few risks, even despite its minimal invasiveness. Although the procedure is done on an outpatient basis the vast majority of the time and requires minimal effort for a healthy recovery, you should be aware that you may be at risk for any of the following by electing to undergo this procedure:


An almost guaranteed risk of mole removal surgery is that you'll be left with a scar in place of the blemish. This scar may be lighter or darker than your skin tone depending on the size of the blemish, the type of removal surgery you had and your skin tone. Still, you may prefer the scar to the dark blemish or may have to have the blemish removed for health reasons regardless.

You can reduce the appearance of the scar by choosing laser treatment over scalpel treatment or cauterizing. You can also minimize the appearance of the scar--once the wound has healed one to two weeks after treatment--by wearing sunblock with SPF 15 or higher, avoiding exposing the scar to the sun for long periods of time and using scar reduction cream.

Return of the Blemish

A small risk is that your mole removal surgery will not entirely remove the blemish for good. This risk is much higher if you choose only to have shaving or a biopsy performed instead of full blemish and base (the full extent of the dark coloration on the skin) extraction. If the procedure fails to remove all of the cells on the skin, they can take root and grow again, usually a few years after the procedure. The mole may then be darker than it used to be, although it may not be as protruding.


A risk of generally any surgery is infection. This risk may be slightly increased with this kind of outpatient surgery because you most likely won't receive any antibiotic medication, although you may be instructed to apply antibiotic ointment to the wound for a few days. You can decrease your risk of infection by following your medical professional's instructions post-surgery. These will include, depending on whether or not you have thread sutures on the wound, keeping the wound dry and covered by a bandage for a period of seven to fourteen days after the surgery. If you do have thread sutures, you may be asked to keep the area moist with antibiotic ointment until your follow-up appointment, in which you'll have the sutures removed. (This is so the skin doesn't grow over the sutures.)

You can bathe, but you should try to avoid getting the wound wet. The wound will be tender and a little red after the surgery and should start forming a scab several days after the surgery. You should not touch the scab and let it fall of naturally one to two weeks after the surgery. If the wound seems bright red, burns or is painful to the touch, you may have an infection and should see your physician as soon as possible.

The risks of mole removal surgery are negligible for the most part, but it's important that you understand all of the risks before you agree to the procedure. If you're worried about the risks, discuss them in further detail with your physician, dermatologist or cosmetic specialist.

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