Patients often come to see me for mole removal, especially for moles on the face. A mole removal scar that’s more noticeable than the original mole defeats the whole purpose. So why are some scars great, and others really noticeable?
Today I’m going to explain what factors affect a mole removal scar, and why seeing a plastic surgeon is often the best choice.
The type of injury is important.
Some types of injury are more damaging, and thus lead to worse scarring. A dog bite compared to a cut from a surgical scalpel is an obvious choice. But even the orientation in which a mole is removed can affect the ultimate mole removal scar. And cutting the mole out in an ellipse, then closing the skin with sutures, results in a much better mole removal scar than simply shaving the mole off at the base.
How the wound is closed also matters.
Whenever I remove a mole, I close the wound with multiple layers of stitches. This takes tension off the wound, which results in a better scar. One of the major differences I see between wound closed by a plastic surgeon as compared to a doctor of another specialty, is that we tend to use waaaay more sutures to close a wound.
Scar care also matters.
What you do to take care of an incision affects how quickly it heals. And healing time matters for scarring: the longer a wound takes to heal, the worse the scar will be. If you want the best mole removal scar possible, that means creating an environment conducive to healing. Some things to avoid:
- Letting the wound dry out. People love to “air out” their wounds. But wounds heal more quickly in a moist environment. Applying vaseline a couple times a day and keeping the area covered with a bandaid will help it heal more quickly, which means a better scar.
- Cleaning the wound with peroxide or betadine. Both peroxide and betadine kill bacteria. But they also kill healthy tissue at the base of a wound, which means slower healing. They should only be used once, right after the injury. Using either betadine or peroxide daily will slow wound healing, which means- you guessed it!- a worse scar.
- Never cleaning the wound at all. Dirty wounds get infected. I advise all my patients to wash wounds daily with mild soap and water to help prevent infection. Because guess what- infected wounds heal more slowly (are you seeing a trend here?)
Why do plastic surgeons give the best mole removal scar?
To put it simply- this is our jam. (I’ve been saying that phrase a lot lately, but it’s fun, so you’ll have to forgive me). But really- our entire training is dedicated to helping wound heal more quickly, and hiding scars. So everything we do is geared towards those goals, from the way we design an incision, to the sutures we use, to the care instructions we give you for later. Some aspects of scarring do depend on your intrinsic healing capability. But if you want the best mole removal scar possible, see a plastic surgeon.
Dr. Greer is a Plastic Surgeon who practices in Cleveland, OH. Her passion is helping moms regain self-confidence by getting rid of sagginess, wrinkles, and stubborn fat. Read more about her at www.greerplastics.com.