Skin Moles

Skin Moles

     Skin Moles are small spots of dark color on the skin. They are produced by some cells in the skin that produce pigment (color). Moles are usually brown, although some may be dark or colored. Moles may be planar or proeminent, smooth or rough, some show hair on their surface. Moles are round or oval with regular margins.

     Some moles are present at birth. These are called congenital moles. However, most moles develop during the first 20 years of life (and sometimes third and fourth decades). Usually they occur in case of excessive exposure to the sun, tending to occur on areas most exposed to sunlight, for example the face.

     Moles may change their appearance in time sometimes they respond to hormonal changes, for example during pregnancy, adolescence and menopause. Some may disappear with time, without the person realizing it.

     Moles are benign formations found on parts of the skin that have been exposed to sunlight for a long time. The surface of these formations is soft, it is usually proeminent. Color varies from yellow to black.

     Most skin moles are normal and harmless, but some may develop into melanoma, a type of skin cancer.

     Malignant melanoma is the most severe type of skin cancer and is usually caused by exposure to excessive sunlight in a short period of time, such as a vacation for two weeks. Malignant melanoma can occur anywhere on the body. It may be a stain, dark, fast growing, on an area where there was a mole, or an existing skin mole that changes its shape, size or color, bleeds or is inflamed.

Diagnostic of skin moles

     It is important to perform regular monitoring of moles to any change in shape, size or color. Most changes are benign, as determined by normal growth, benign (non-cancerous) cells of the pigment in the skin. However, it is recommended to call your doctor if you can notice any abnormal changes in skin mole formations.

     Your doctor will ask the patient about recent changes in the formations and about the time that they occurred. He will ask about family history-side to assess the risk of developing a melanoma.

     If minor changes occur, your doctor will make photos of the skin mole, which can be used for further evaluation. In case of signs of malignant transformation, your doctor might recommend taking a biopsy (a portion of formation) or excision of the faction entirely. It can be performed in a surgery clinic. The portion of skin will be sent to a histopathology laboratory for examination under a microscope for signs of malignant transformation.

     If the suspicion of malignant transformation of the mole exists, ask your plastic surgeon or the dermatologist (skin disease specialist), to make the appropriate treatment. He may consult a specialist in pigmented lesions, which can identify and diagnose melanoma. There will probably be two appointments, one for examination by a physician, the second for its surgical excision.

Treatment of skin moles

     If the biopsy shows abnormal cell changes nevus, surgical excision is recommended. If cell changes are recent, the skin mole will be excised by a simple surgical technique. This is possible because melanoma has surpassed the superficial layers of skin and has not spread to neighboring organs. If melanoma is diagnosed in its late stages, there may be distant metastases (spread of tumor cells along the blood flow, with the formation of new tumor to other organs).

     If your doctor is worried about a mole, the removal may be made before getting the biopsy or the nevus may be removed completely and the mole sent to histopathology. If abnormal cells are found, periodic medical examination is recommended to complete the therapy if needed, for examination of all the moles.

     Skin moles can be removed surgically using the following methods:

  • Excision (incision and removal of the faction), sometimes with suture, or
  • Excision with electrocautery (burning tool uses a faction).
  • Laser mole removal but only for the small ones

     Suture is performed or not depending on the size and depth of tumor faction, and depending on the scar that might occur after.

     Before surgical excision, the skin is disinfected and numbed with a local anesthetic. For the faction removal without suture, the surgeon uses a scalpel to remove the mole that is not so much beyond the superficial layer of skin. Afterwards he uses an electric instrument for the coagulation of the remaining region. The wound will be covered with a sterile dressing and the practitioner will explain the patient how to take care of it.

     Nevi requiring surgical suture after excision, are larger, darker and / or plan. The surgeon removes the whole formation and a part of the tissue, depending on the risk of cancer. You can use absorbable threads inside the wound or nonabsorbable threads applied to the skin surface that will be removed later.

     Sometimes moles are excised for cosmetic reasons, with no pathological significance. For example, a person who has a big ugly mole that can affect his confidence and self esteem may chose to remove it. Usually, this type of surgery will be paid by the patient (not included in the interventions covered by medical insurance) and is typically performed in a private clinic. Ask your physician for further information about them.

     Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the UK, and the reported cases are growing. The figures have doubled compared to 1980 and there are over 69,000 new cases diagnosed each year in the UK. It is therefore important to perform periodic inspections of moles, both new appeared formations but also the ones from birth.

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