Mole and Wart Removal
Moles, warts, and skin tags can sometimes be a disturbing feature on the skin and can be a reason for lack of confidence and low self-esteem. These can appear at any age and in some cases, can spread over a large skin area. Some moles that appear later in life can be signs of ill health, infection, or even cancer. An expert dermatologist always finds out the root cause of the moles or warts on the body before deciding how or when they can be removed. Moles are mostly harmless and benign. Warts and skin tags are protruded body tissues on the skin. They are harmless, but can cause concern related to beauty and appearance. A dermatologist looks at the moles for A to E signs.
- A- Asymmetry
- B- Ragged Borders or Blurs
- C- Multiple shaded Colours
- D- Large Diameter
- E- Elevation of mole after some time
These determine whether the mole needs to be surgically removed or if they pose any threats to the body. These signs help in diagnosis too.
Primarily there are 4 methods of removal of moles and warts:
- Surgery : Surgical excision is used to remove the moles and skin is sutured back in place.
- Laser : It is a quick method of removal and a less painful way done without any local anaesthesia.
- Radiofrequency : RF waves are used to remove the mole. These are quick and highly efficient too.
- Cryotherapy- This is a non-invasive procedure where liquid nitrogen is used to freeze and destroy the growth of the mole or wart on the skin.
Dr. Rameesa Shaan
General Practitioner (Dermatology)
Dr. Vimi Ponnamparambath
What does a mole look like?
A mole is a pigmented tissue growth on the skin. These are the most common skin growth and are found in various shapes, sizes, numbers and colours. Normally a person has 10-40 moles on the body. Moles can be an issue of aesthetics or medical concern as they can develop into cancerous growth called melanoma.
Are warts contagious?
Warts are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) when it enters the skin and causes tissue proliferation on the skin. It might be rough or smooth, flat or raised above the skin surface. Its colour ranges from brown-black to pale yellow. It is usually harmless but extremely unaesthetic and its irritation can cause pain, swelling and infection. Also, it is contagious and can spread to other body parts even to other people.
Are moles harmful?
Mostly, moles are harmless and benign. They can be painful, itchy or uncomfortable due to continuous friction with clothes or skin or shaving procedures. Moles that are Itchy, painful, colour changing, increasing in size with irregular borders can be a sign of cancerous growth called melanoma. The chances of melanoma increase if the patient has a family history or medical history of melanoma and severe continuous sun exposure.
What are the side effects of the removal of moles and warts?
Side effects of removal of moles and warts are mild and temporary which resolve within a couple of days. In some cases, there are no side effects of this procedure. These side-effects are:
- Dark pigmentation
- Itching or burning
- In rare cases, allergy to anaesthesia, regrowth of moles or warts and infection of wounds.
Is removal of moles and warts permanent?
Yes, the removal of moles, skin tags and warts is a permanent treatment. In very rare cases, less than 5%, moles or skin tags might reappear while in case of contact with the human papillomavirus results in warts infection again. Laser or surgery both treatments help in the permanent removal of moles, warts and skin tags.
What is the treatment of warts?
- Permanent treatment of warts is:
- Surgical removal is performed by the doctor under local anaesthesia and the wound is closed by stitches or bandages.
- Laser removal by focusing the beam of lasers onto the wart which causes its vaporisation.
- In some cases, liquid nitrogen is also used to freeze and disrupt the wart.
- All these treatments are permanent but warts can come back if you contact the human papillomavirus again.
- Permanent treatment of warts is:
When to see the dermatologist?
Consult the dermatologist if:
- You want to improve the appearance of the skin
- To relieve the irritation and discomfort due to friction with skin or clothes or shaving
- In cases of family history of cancer called melanoma
- Self medical history of melanoma