Removal of benign lesions is a common request by patients for cosmetic reasons. Other times a patient may want a growth or mole removed because it is irritating their skin. There are different techniques or ways to remove these depending on the type of lesion and where it is located.
Skin tags are small growths of extra skin that grow off a thin stem and usually look like a small piece of hanging skin. Skin tags are benign growths and are normally not painful. They can occur on any part of the body, but are most commonly seen on:
- Body folds
- Under the breasts
- Upper chest
It is believed that skin tags occur from friction against the skin, since they are so often found in skin creases and folds. They are harmless. Most don’t require treatment. But sometimes patients want to remove them for cosmetic reasons or because they cause discomfort when they rub against clothing or get caught in jewelry.
Moles are skin growths made up of cells that produce color (pigment). Moles can appear anywhere on the skin, alone or in groups. Moles can be raised or flat. They may change in appearance over time and some may even disappear. They are usually brown in color but can be blue, black, or flesh-colored. Most moles are harmless and don’t cause pain or other symptoms unless they have been exposed to friction or trauma.
Warts are generally a small, rough growth, typically on a patient’s hands or feet but also other locations, and can resemble a cauliflower or a solid blister. They are caused by a viral infection, specifically by one of the many types of human papilloma viruses.
There are as many as 10 varieties of warts, the most common considered to be the most harmless. It is possible to get warts from others; they are contagious and usually enter the body in an area of broken skin. They typically disappear after a few months but can last for years and can recur.