Marilyn Monroe and Cindy Crawford are famous for theirs, so is Enrique Iglesias. So why consider having yours removed? Moles can be distinguishing characteristics that you love or a birthmark that you’d rather remove. Many people in the Fairfax and Northern Virginia area decide to remove their moles to improve their appearance or because the mole uncomfortably rubs against clothing. Most moles are relatively small and benign, but others have the potential to develop into melanoma (skin cancer), which is the best reason of all to have them removed.
Should I Get My Mole Removed?
The purpose of all cosmetic surgery is to make you feel better about yourself by enhancing your physical characteristics. If your mole makes you less self confident, then you should look into options for removal. The decision to seek surgical treatment also depends on the type of mole and whether there is a risk for developing cancer. Types of moles include:
Present from birth, these moles are very common and 1 in 100 people have at least one. While almost all are benign and pose no threat to you, it is possible for very large ones to develop into melanoma over time. We understand more and more about these nevi as time goes on, and the more we learn the more it seems incredibly rare for these to transform into a malignancy. Until that risk is zero, however, we still remove them for that concern regularly.
This is the term for a mole that is changing in surface texture, size, border regularity or pigment level. These changes signal unusual activity of melanocytes and give rise to concern for malignancy. It is still very infrequent for dysplastic nevi to become malignant, but these nevi are the ones we watch closely or remove for that reason.
Who Can Remove My Moles?
While a dermatologist is qualified to remove moles, plastic surgeons frequently perform this procedure when patients want to ensure minimal scarring. A cosmetic surgeon has less expertise in determining which moles exactly are at risk, but more expertise in removing them with minimal scarring once removal has been deemed necessary.
To ensure that your cosmetic surgeon is qualified for mole removal, she should be:
- Board Certified
- Trained in facial and body procedures
- Experienced with mole removal
Dr. Jespersen is a board-certified cosmetic surgeon with years of experience treating both children and adults with moles and other birthmarks. She has performed countless mole removal procedures for her Fairfax and Northern Virginia patients with great results.
When Should I Remove My Moles?
Although most moles are completely benign and pose no risk to you, there are some signs that indicate the nevi are dysplastic, and at a higher risk of developing into melanoma (skin cancer). Watch for the following signs that your mole may be dysplastic:
- Asymmetry. One half of the mole is not the same as the other.
- Irregular Border. The shape of the mole’s border is irregular, not even and smooth.
- Color. Your mole has many different pigment levels.
- Diameter. The diameter of your mole is greater than ¼ inch (pencil eraser).
- Evolving. Your mole changes in size, shape, color, elevation, or in some other way. (This has recently been determined to be the best indicator of a problem!)
You should follow up with a dermatologist to check that your mole is benign. The earlier you seek treatment, the better chance that any melanoma will be successfully treated.
Preventing Moles from Becoming Melanoma
Melanoma, as well as other skin cancers, is mainly related to a history of sun exposure. You can decrease your risk of skin cancer by:
- Avoiding sun at peak hours, 10am-4pm
- Preventing sunburns by using a broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with SPF of at least 30 at least 30 minutes before heading outside.
- Not using tanning beds or tanning naturally. Both have skin-damaging UV rays.
- Wearing clothing, a hat, and UV-protective sunglasses when in direct sun.
Though there is no foolproof way to avoid skin cancer, although you can significantly decrease your risk by being careful in the sun.
Expert Surgical Care from an Experienced Professional
Fairfax and Northern Virginia patients who want to remove their moles for cosmetic or health reasons are in good hands with Dr. Jespersen. Her exceptional patient care and attention to surgical detail combine to create an ideal patient experience.
For more information on mole removal or to schedule a consultation, call Dr. Jespersen at her office in the Fairfax and Northern Virginia area (703) 992-7969 or fill out the form on the right.