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

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:

  • Neck
  • Body folds
  • Eyelids
  • Underarms
  • Under the breasts
  • Groin
  • 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

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

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.

How are Moles/Skin Tags/Warts Removed?

We may remove them in any of these ways:

  • Cutting it off:  Skin tags or warts may be snipped off with a scalpel or surgical scissors. Some moles can be “shaved” off flush with the skin. Other moles may have cells that go underneath the skin and might need a deeper cut to remove the entire mole and prevent it from growing back. This cut may require stitches.
  • Burning it off : An electric current passes through a wire that becomes hot and is used to burn off the upper layers of the skin. You may need more than one treatment to remove a mole. Skin tags are removed by burning through the narrow stem that attaches them to the skin. The heat helps prevent bleeding.
  • Laser Removal: This method of mole removal is usually used for flat moles that are brown or black in color and small in size.  For warts, multiple treatments may be required.  Consultation is required to evaluate the lesions.

The procedures for removing moles, skin tags and warts are quick and simple. Healing time for most of these is typically quick and the removal is done in a simple outpatient office visit. There is little to no recovery time needed after the procedure.

The removal area needs to be properly cared for and cleaned to avoid infection. Instructions for proper care will be given to you at your appointment.

After Your Removal

All procedures can have side effects including, but not limited to:

  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Pigmentation changes
  • Infection
  • Blistering

Healing time varies from person to person and also depends on the type of procedure.

 You will be given instructions for wound care based on the type of removal that is performed. If stitches were used to close the skin of the mole removal site then they are normally left in place for 1-2 weeks and will be taken out during your follow-up appointment in the office.