Moles (age spots) – all about mole removal
Moles, liver spots and age spots are brown coloured pigment changes in the skin. Moles can be flat or raised while liver spots are flat.
Each person has an average of 67 moles with a spread of 1-300 per individual.
Moles and age spots can either be a health risk or simply disturbing. Therefore, they may be removed because of medical or cosmetic reasons.
Removal of liver spots and moles for medical reasons are funded by NHS while those who want to remove their moles for cosmetic reasons may do so in private care.
There are different methods to choose between for removal such as surgery, laser, diathermy, freezing, burning, scraping, IPL and so on. On this page you will find out what the various methods are, their advantages and disadvantages.
Three basic methods for mole removal
There are a large number of different methods for removal of moles and liver spots. You can divide these methods into three basics: surgery, scratching or burning.
- Surgery is carried under local anesthesia and the mole or liver spot is cut off with a knife in the shape of a traditional scalpel, a heated radio frequency knife or laser knife (gamma knife). The surgery involves incision, removal of oval flaps of tissue, stitches and therefore scars.
- Moles or age spots can be scraped off on the top with a sharp spoon shaped knife (curettage) or with a razor. The procedure is performed under local anesthesia and gives a superficial abrasion which normally heals well and without significant scarring.
- Moles or age spots can be burned off with diathermy (heated electric knife), laser (vaporizes the mole tissue layer by layer), cryotherapy (liquid nitrogen is applied at the temperature of-196 ° C). The treatments are carried out under local anesthetic, and provide superficial burns which will heal within two weeks, usually with limited scarring.
What is the best method to remove a mole or liver spot?
There are four aspects to consider when removing moles or age spots. The treatment should first of all a) minimize possible risks for cancer b) look after the patient’s wishes c) achieve good results and d) make sure that the mole doesn’t grow back
The best method for mole removal is to weight up the four factors above. It also depends on its location and other terms such as risk indicators, colour, size, elevation and depth. If a mole starts to develop tumor cells or may signal a future risk, the choice is easy, surgery is the right option.
BEFORE mole removal, they should at any suspicion be examined by a specialist and if necessary sent for analysis. The aim is to ensure that the skin lesion will not contain tumor cells.
Control and treatment of moles within the public health care
Since moles may pose health risk, you can be examined within public health care. Start with your family doctor at the GP. If he/she suspects that it may involve a dangerous change, you will get a referral to a dermatologist.
If the dermatologist find tumor cells or sees future risk of cancer in your moles, they will be surgically removed.
Continue here for more information & options for age spots removal
- Find clinics that provide mole removal
- Discuss removal of moles and other skin lesions in our forum
- Ask a question or read answers about mole removal in Ask the EXPERT
- Learn more about mole removal with laser