Shave vs. Excision Mole Removal: What You Need to Know

Moles are a common and completely normal skin blemish but when they start to change in shape or colour, it’s time to take a closer look.

Even though most moles are harmless, a slight change or the development of an irregular mole could be a sign of something more serious. If you have a lot of moles, it’s more important than ever to know your ABCDEs so that you can immediately identify a suspicious mole.

  • A – Asymmetrical
  • B – Irregular Borders
  • C – Change in Colour or Multiple Colours
  • D – A diameter that is larger than a pencil eraser
  • E – Evolving shape

If you happen to notice any of these types of changes in a new or existing mole, it’s time to book an appointment with a dermatologist so that your skin can be examined.

Excision vs. Shaving: Which Mole Removal Option to Choose

During your consultation, your skin will be examined and your dermatologist will discuss your medical history with you to determine whether you have a history of cancer.

If your doctor feels that a mole could be a form of skin cancer, they will need to remove it and send it to a pathology lab for it to be tested.

Facial mole removal experts such as Dr Ed from The DOC clinic use a variety of different methods to remove moles but surgical shave and excision are still the most common. The method that is used will depend on the type of mole and where it is located.

Let’s look at the difference between these two methods.

Surgical Excision

This particular mole removal method is slightly more invasive than most other methods and is the preferred choice when a mole has cells that have spread beneath the top layer of the dermis.

A local anaesthetic will first be used to numb the skin to minimise any discomfort. Then, a scalpel will be used to cut the mole out, which will involve the removal of some of the surrounding skin too. This method does require stitches and there is a chance that it will result in a small scar. Fortunately, the scar will fade over time.

Surgical excision is generally used when melanoma is suspected because it allows the dermatologist to remove a larger sample for the lab to test.

Surgical Shave

This procedure is much shorter as the mole is only shaved down instead of being completely removed. The area will still be numbed with anaesthetic to alleviate any discomfort and patients will be left with a small pink mark after the procedure. This method is ideally suited to raised moles and will still give your doctor enough of a sample to send to the lab should it be necessary.

Both of these procedures are an effective way to remove and test moles for abnormal cells. When it comes to moles and the health of your skin, it’s always better to be more paranoid about a new mole or a change in an existing one than to leave it too late.