REMOVAL OF MOLES AND OTHER HARMLESS TUMOURS AT THE OXFORD SKINCARE CLINIC
Can mole removal be done on the NHS?
As a local GPs, we see many patients who would like the removal of an ugly mole. Unfortunately, this is not available in the NHS for most patients as this minor surgery is considered cosmetic. Only moles which have suspicious features or are likely to be cancerous, are removed under the NHS. If you have any concerns regarding your moles then it is important to get it checked out by an experienced doctor immediately, particularly if you notice any changes in shape, size, border or colour.
How safe is it to remove moles?
You need to be seen by a doctor experienced in dermatology with specialist training in skin surgery and the use of a dermatoscope to examine moles in detail. Suspicious moles need to be regularly monitored or removed entirely. Benign moles can be excised or shaved. This can be done here at the clinic, by your GP or by your local consultant dermatologist.
What to expect
On the day of your pre-op visit, we examine your moles, explain the procedure and discuss the potential side-effects. Laboratory analysis sometimes may not be required for skin coloured moles. For pigmented ones we always encourage you to have the lesion sent to the lab for histology. This costs from £85 at Nuffield Hospital Pathology Lab in Warwick.
If you are happy to go ahead you are booked for removal. Having a period of time between pre-op appointment and removal allows you to make sure you have made the right decision to go ahead.
The procedure will take between 30 to 60 minutes. You will be given an aftercare pack to give you advice on how to look after your wound. If you have any questions following treatment then you can always phone the clinic for advice. You are also invited to a post op appointment 4 -6 weeks after the surgery.
How much does it cost?
We offer extremely competitive rates compared to private hospitals. Average costs for a mole removal is in the region of £360 including lab fees.
Cosmetic Result and Removal Techniques Used
Skin coloured moles can be be removed from the surface of the skin. After an injection of local anaesthetic, the mole is shaved off level with the skin surface. The wound is sealed using an electrocautery device called a hyfrecator or a drying chemical called Driclor.
Flat dark coloured moles are more difficult to remove completely and may require you to come back for further pigment removal. There is no charge for this within 3 months of surgery.
Moles bigger than 8mm diameter are generally more difficult to remove by this technique and may require surgical excision with stitches. This is slightly more expensive, but gives a complete removal safely and neatly.
- Very little scarring occurs in 45% of lesions treated on the head and 30% on the trunk. In the remainder scars tend to be smaller than the original lesion and are often slightly ‘depressed’.
- It is uncommon for a lumpy scar to develop, but is more likely on upper chest and shoulders, especially in younger people.
- Any wound encourages new blood vessels to form. The scar/ skin may always look red. More usually the skin becomes paler than the surrounding tissue.
- Up to 25% of moles removed may grow back in time. With careful attention to detail during surgery rates can be than this. In our clinic they are around 12%
- Moles removed by formal excision are easier to remove completely with virtually no chance of regrowth or recurrence.
- There will be a short linear scar which may or may not be easily visible.
- Whilst it is usually not very noticeable, it may be lumpy or flat, pink, brown or pale. In areas of high tension the skin is sometimes unable to retain enough strength to heal and the wound widens and heals with unsightly scar. The shoulders and back are high risk areas for this.
- There is a higher chance of post-operative infection than with shave excisions – around 5%
How long does it take to heal?
With shave excision you will have a wound similar to a graze. This will typically take 7-10 days to heal and may be red for a few months before leaving normal skin or a paler or darker flat mark. The skin may ooze or be sore immediately following the procedure, but most patients can return to work on the same day. If you have your mole removed by excision then healing takes a little longer. Stitches are removed after one to two weeks.
Does the procedure hurt?
Patients may feel some slight discomfort from the initial local anaesthetic injection, but the procedure itself is painless and quick. Afterwards the wound may be sore for 7-10 days whilst it heals so I recommend that you apply Vaseline to the wound to keep it moist 3-4 time daily and avoid picking any scabs. If the wound is itchy, you can use 1% hydrocortisone cream twice daily for up to 3 days.
How many growth can be removed in one procedure?
Many patients have multiple moles and it is possible to treat several at a time. However, it is preferable to remove one or two growths first to see how your skin heals and recovers.