The days of summer are gone and the constant reminders about the importance of SPF have slowly faded. Although the warm days have come to a halt, the importance of maintaining healthy skin remains. During the cold winter months, remember to keep an eye on any moles that may have appeared as a result of summer’s passing. Self-examination is one of the best ways to catch any early signs of skin cancer. So how do you self examine any abnormal growths on your skin? During your self-examination, you will want to follow the ABCD method.
Asymmetry: Look for any signs of your mole changing in size. Melanomas are usually asymmetric, meaning one side may not reflect the other.
Border: Look for signs of changing in and around the edges of the mole. This includes if they become blurred, irregular, or ragged.
Color: Normal moles are one hue in color. Keep note of changes in the shade of the mole, including hues of tan, brown, black, blue, white, or red.
Diameter: Melanomas are usually greater than the eraser of a pencil, though some have been diagnosed at a smaller size.
Although most moles are benign, it is always recommended to get an expert opinion for proper treatment and in-depth observation. If your mole shows any of these signs of change, consider an evaluation by Board Certified Plastic Surgeon or dermatologist. An expert can help assess your moles and assist you if you decide that removal is necessary or right for you. While many people are born with these growths, some patients may find themselves with moles due to tanning, increased sun exposure, even genes. Understanding the differences between each type of mole will guide you when it comes to determining the best-suited removal procedure.
Types of moles:
Atypical: The atypical mole is usually larger than other common moles. Some have irregular borders that fade into the skin. Seen in about 1 out of every 10 Americans, atypical moles often have a higher chance of becoming pre-cancerous. In some extreme cases, patients may develop more than 50 of them.
Acquired: Also known as the common mole, the acquired mole appears any time after you are born. The acquired mole is often believed to be a result of sun damage.
Congenital: According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, about 1 in 100 are born with the congenital mole. Though most are brown in color, their shades, shape, and size can vary.
Dysplastic: The dysplastic mole is often larger than an average mole. Usually, the size of a pencil eraser, these types of moles tend to have lighter, uneven edges. They are often hereditary and in some cases, patients experience 100 or more.
Mole removal may be performed under local anesthesia. In some instances, patients may opt for Twilight IV sedation, where patients feel they are falling asleep naturally. Depending on the type of mole you have will determine the type of procedure used to remove your mole. Most flat moles, for example, are removed using a “shave excision.” In comparison, moles that are darker and deeper may require full-thickness excision. Full-thickness excision allows for the best specimen evaluation for any pre-cancerous changes. This test only requires a few stitches that are removed during a follow-up visit.
If your mole starts to show unusual changes in asymmetry, border, or color, or if you are simply self-conscious about your mole, do not hesitate to contact your plastic surgeon about Mole Removal in NYC.