Most people have numerous moles on their body. In fact, light-skinned people average 30 moles but some have up to 400.
It wasn’t a horrible, disfiguring mole, but I didn’t like it. At one point, I saw an older woman that had a similar mole next to her nose and it had hairs growing out of it, so I was determined to not let that happen to me.
Having a mole removed it is a pretty simple process and the scar that is left isn’t very noticeable. It is usually performed by a dermatologist in their office with local anesthesia.
The doctor always has the tissue looked at by a lab to check for irregularities, which is when a followup is necessary. Keeping an eye on your moles to watch for any changes is an important part of self-monitoring your own health.
This post discusses what to look for when examining a mole:
Healthy moles often have these characteristics:
Color. Light tan or brown in color.
Shape. Usually oval or round in shape, with a sharp border around the edges.
Texture. Smooth skin, even if the mole is raised.
Size. Small — usually around a quarter-inch in diameter (the size of a pencil eraser).
Quantity. A small number of moles, fewer than 40.
Location. Mostly on the upper portion of the body, often the face, arms, chest, neck, and back.
Color. May be many different colors — pink, red, brown, or tan.
Shape. Looks different from other moles on the body, and usually has an irregular shape and border.
Texture. Scaly, crusty, bumpy, or rough texture.
Size. Larger than normal, often larger than a pencil eraser.
Quantity. Having large numbers of moles (more than 100).
Location. Appearing on the head beneath the hair, on the breasts, or on the buttocks. May also appear on the back, face, neck, arms, and chest.
There are a number of ways to remove moles. They can be cut, shaved, burned, and frozen off, but with technology improving the are other techniques that can do the job effectively without as much trauma to the skin.
More updated options for removing moles that appear benign are radio wave and laser. Watch this video to see a large mole removed with the radio wave method:
If you have any doubt as to whether the mole is cancerous, then laser and radio wave isn’t the optimal way to go. Both will destroy the mole and there will be no tissue left to have microscopically examined to make certain it was benign.
No matter what method is used, there is going to be a scar. The biggest risk factor is that the site can get infected, so be sure to follow the instructions for wound care, by keeping the area clean, moist and covered.
Cost of Mole Removal
If the reason for the mole removal is due to potential irregularities, then your insurance will usually pay for it. However, if the issue is an aesthetic one, then many times you are on own with the cost.
The implications of this differentiation help someone understand whether mole removal is covered by health insurance. So, cosmetic removal or removal of a mole because it is unsighly is not medically necessary and insurance will not cover this whereas insurance will cover the suspicious appearing mole. Regardless, the cost of mole removal will vary anywhere from $100 to $500 based upon size, location, and shape.
The expense is somewhat irrelevant if it means protecting against melanoma, the scariest type of skin cancer. In sunny California, where many people worship the outdoors and getting the darkest tan possible, this is a real concern.
In places like Anaheim or San Jose, the instance of certain types of moles is increased, especially lentigines. Moles may darken after exposure to UV rays, so keep an eye on areas that are vulnerable to being in the sun regularly.
Get in touch with your Riverside, CA doctor if you see any of the changes mentioned above. They will give you advice on how to proceed.