Cosmetic Mole Removal
Dermatologist specializing in safe & effective cosmetic mole removal
Cosmetic Mole Removal Specialist in NYC
Cosmetic mole removal involves safely removing unwanted moles on the skin while minimizing scarring. It is an outpatient surgical procedure performed at Wall Street Dermatology. Dr. Julia Tzu is a surgical and cosmetic dermatologist specializing in cosmetic dermatology involving scar revision, skin reconstruction, and laser treatments.
Benign moles are a common occurrence found in the majority of the population, and its removal is typically not considered medically necessary. However, if you are not pleased with the appearance of your mole or choose to remove it for personal preference, moles can be safely and effectively removed for cosmetic reasons.
Here at Wall Street Dermatology we can offer expert benign mole removal via an individualized approach.
Dermatologist Dr. Julia Tzu on Cosmetic Mole Removal
“Cosmetic mole removal is one of my favorite procedures because of how satisfying its outcome can be to patients who have waited too long to remove an unsightly mole. Mole removal can be performed via a variety of modalities, and I always seek to find the least invasive option to provide the best cosmetic outcome. However, even when the only option is surgery, mole removal can still result in imperceptible scarring because of special surgical techniques and equipment I utilize.”- Dr. Julia Tzu, MD, FAAD
What are Moles?
There are many different types of “brown spots” or growths that develop on our skin, all of which derive from the pigment-producing cell of the skin called the melanocyte. While this topic can easily become a much more complicated discussion of the various growth patterns of pigmented skin cells, suffice it to say that not all “brown spots” are necessarily moles, and it often takes the expertise of a dermatologist to provide an accurate diagnosis of what a “brown spot” or “mole” diagnostically is. What are casually referred to as benign “moles” or “beauty marks” are more appropriately and precisely termed “benign nevus” in medical terminology to refer to a group of melanocytes that divide and grow locally in a controlled fashion and therefore pose no medical issues. Depending on the depth of growth, benign nevi or moles can either be flat or raised and vary in shade of brown.
Benign Moles/Nevi can be classified into one of two broad categories:
- Congenital – moles which you have had since birth
- Acquired – moles which appear at any time during your life
These are pigmented growths that exhibit highly regular and symmetrical physical characteristics. Your dermatologist will be able to provide the diagnosis when in doubt. Although not within the scope of discussion in this particular section, there are some moles or nevi that are more appropriately classified as atypical and have irregular physical characteristics which may warrant further medical evaluation and treatment, and which do not qualify for cosmetic mole removal.
Procedures for Cosmetic Mole Removal
Mole removal can be accomplished by three main methods–shave removal, surgical excision, and laser. The choice of which method to use to accomplish the best cosmetic outcome will be determined by the type of mole, the size of the mole, the color of the mole, the location of the mole, and the individual’s skin type. An experienced board certified dermatologic surgeon will consider all of these elements in formulating the best plan to remove your mole
Surgical Shave Removal
Shave removal is a minimally invasive surgical technique in which the mole is surgically sculpted down to blend in seamlessly with the surrounding skin. It can be used to remove small, superficial moles (junctional nevus) or small, fleshy protuberant moles (intradermal nevus). While this is a simpler and faster procedure compared to traditional surgical mole removal, there is a higher chance that the mole can recur if the mole has a deeper component (“roots”) . The procedure is performed under local anesthesia and takes approximately 5 minutes. Follow-up care involves only vaseline and a bandage for 7 to 14 days. Sutures are not used with this method, so you may return to your normal daily activities sooner than traditional surgical mole removal.
Traditional surgical excision of a mole is reserved for larger and deeper moles called compound and intradermal nevi. Compared with shave removal, it is a lengthier and technically more complex procedure. The skin around the mole is first numbed with an injection of local anesthesia. The mole is then surgically excised all the way down to the subcutaneous layer to ensure its complete removal. The excisonal wound is then carefully closed with sutures, which are removed in 1-2 weeks. The method of closure, also called skin reconstruction, may range from simple to complex depending on the location of the surgery. The entire procedure usually takes about 30 minutes. Follow-up care involves only vaseline and a bandage for 7 to 14 days. You can go home immediately after the procedure but are advised to avoid exercise for 2 weeks to prevent reopening the wound.
While laser removal is not usually the recommendation of choice for the majority of moles, it can be appropriately utilized in specific circumstances. Superficially based moles that are deemed completely benign by an experienced board certified dermatologist may be appropriately and successfully removed with laser treatment. Laser treatment is not recommended and contra-indicated for any moles that are irregular or which may be cancerous.
Considerations in Shaving Moles vs. Surgically Removing Moles
Moles are most commonly removed via a superficial removal called a “shave removal” or a deeper surgical removal that involves sutures. While shave removals are a quicker and less costly procedure, it can leave the base of the mole remaining. This means that when the shave wound heals, the brown discoloration can recur at the base and the mole can eventually reform again. True surgical removal requires more sophisticated techniques, are more time consuming to perform, and are more costly, but remove the mole completely so that probability of recurrence is reduced.
Which removal is best depends on an assessment of the depth of the mole, patient’s personal goals, and the location of the mole. There are certainly instances in which a shave removal provides the best outcome and there are instances when a surgical removal provides the best outcome. During your cosmetic consultation, Dr. Tzu will listen to your specific concerns and formulate with you the best treatment strategy depending on your individual goals and other limiting factors.
Will I be left with a scar after a mole removal procedure?
While all procedures in general leave some level of a mark on the skin, cosmetic procedures are different from medical procedures in that the techniques involved are designed to minimize the amount of scarring and maximize cosmesis. Our double board certified, double fellowship trained dermatologist, Dr. Julia Tzu, is one of the most highly trained and respected surgical and cosmetic dermatologist in the world, and is prepared to help you achieve the best outcome.
Here is an example of a before and after for a mole removed from above the patient’s eyelid:
You can view more cosmetic mole removal photos that we’ve done in the Before & After gallery.
What can I expect after the mole has been removed?
Immediately after the procedure, the area will be pink and inflamed, because this is the short-term outcome after any procedure in general, and simply represents basic biological healing mechanisms at play. The pinkness and swelling will be reduced week by week. A small scab may also form in the treatment area if there is an open wound. This will heal in the same way as any small wound. The ultimate cosmesis of a postsurgical scar may take months to a year for it to reach its final visibly minimized state.
Why Choose a Dermatologic Surgeon over a Plastic Surgeon?
Mole removals are generally done by specialized cosmetic dermatologists or plastic surgeons. Dermatologic surgeons are specialists whose sole professional focus is medically diagnosing skin growths, tailoring the type of skin surgery to the type of skin growth, and optimizing scarring outcomes on the skin. There is no other medical specialist more experienced and focused on understanding the biology of skin growths and its removal as well as improving scarring outcomes of the skin than dermatologic surgeons. While plastic surgeons are experts in cosmetic enhancements overall, cosmetic skin surgery is only a partial subset of the types of cosmetic procedures they routinely perform. Scarring from many of the more invasive surgical cosmetic body procedures is only a secondary consideration. If going to a specialist with the most amount of expertise and experience is important to you, you may want to consider seeing a dermatologic surgeon over a plastic surgeon for skin surgery.
How Much Will CosMetic Mole Removal Cost?
The cost of cosmetic mole removal depends on the size and location of the mole, and the complexity of the technique utilized for removal. In general, we advise our patients to budget between $400 to $2,000 per treatment session of each mole removed. Multiple sessions may occasionally be required to get to the optimal cosmetic outcome on the mole removed.
Taking the Next Steps on a Cosmetic Mole Removal Procedure
You can schedule a visit with Dr. Julia Tzu and her experience team at Wall Street Dermatology to explore further with us. If you are interested in exploring a cosmetic mole removal procedure, you can book a cosmetic consultation with Dr. Tzu for a 1:1 session to explore possible mole removal procedures. We’d love to explore how we may be able to restore the natural beauty of your skin.
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions that we receive about cosmetic mole removal in NYC.