Nevi Excision - Giant Nevi (Mole) Removal Surgery
What is a mole? A mole Is a round- or oval-shaped cluster of pigmented skin cells – usually brown, black or skin tone – that can appear anywhere on your body. Usually, moles appear before the age of 20 due to a range of factors, including exposure to ultraviolet radiation (the sun), having fair skin, genetics, having a weakened immune system, etc. Most moles are benign, but some can develop into cancers [link to cutaneous cancer page].
Some doctors may recommend getting a mole removed before it can develop into cancer. Other reasons for removal include cosmetic reasons, or simply because it may affect your quality of life (i.e., it gets in the way of shaving your face.)
All surgeries, whether they be big or small, carry risks. For mole removal surgery, these typically include:
Risks of Surgery
You may need to take antibiotics before surgery. Routine blood work is usually not needed but may be ordered prior to surgery based on the patient's age and the presence of any existing medical problems.
Mole removal is a minor kind of surgery and is done on an outpatient basis (you will be able to go home after the surgery is completed). Before your surgery, a nurse or doctor will plan the incision site, clean the affected area, and consult with you for any questions you may have. Then, they will numb the mole using a local anesthetic so that you won’t feel any discomfort during the procedure.
The procedure itself can last anywhere between a few minutes to an hour depending on the size of the mole and the depth to which your surgeon will need to cut. Typically, your doctor will give you a heads-up on how long the procedure should last.
Your surgeon will use an instrument like a scalpel to remove the actual mole and surrounding tissue if necessary. If you feel any pain or discomfort, be sure to let your surgeon know. Once the mole has been removed, the wound is usually closed using stitches. Sometimes, the surgeon will opt for natural healing and stitches will not be used.
Recovery time for mole removal will vary, but you should feel back to normal within a few days to weeks depending on whether or not you received stitches. Be sure to keep the area clean and dry to avoid the possibility of infection. Itchiness or soreness is common. However, let your doctor know if you experience swelling or excessive pain.
You will need to arrange for a ride home on the day of your surgery and we recommend someone stay with you for the first 24 hours at home. When you leave the facility after surgery, we will want you to go home and rest. Avoid making any other plans on the day of your surgery. Starting the following day, you can increase your activity as you feel up to it.
Lastly, know that there is a high likelihood you will be left with some kind of scar. If you notice that your mole is growing back, this may be a sign that the mole has turned cancerous, and a follow-up with a dermatologist is highly recommended.
You will likely be given a prescription for pain medication following your surgery. The recovery nurse will discuss a pain control plan following surgery specific to you and your needs including activities like ice applied over incisions and a medication regimen. Oftentimes we will recommend taking Tylenol and Advil (same as Motrin, Ibuprofen) or Aleve in addition to the narcotic pain medication.
Did you know we have a support group?
Your questions and concerns have most likely been asked and answered in our support group. Moderated by our dietitian's, nurses, and staff. We provide you with reliable patient education and resources to help you throughout this life-changing process.