At Reno Sparks MedSpa in Reno, NV, our experts have years of experience diagnosing and removing moles. When it comes to mole removal, you want someone who knows what they’re doing, and when it comes to education, training, and skill, you won’t find anyone better than Dr. Calvin H. Van Reken, MD. Read on to learn what you can expect from a mole removal.
What Happens During a Mole Removal Treatment?
During your mole removal treatment, you don’t have to worry about scalpels or stitches. We offer laser removal, curettage, and radiofrequency removals instead.
What to Expect During Laser Removal
Before moles are removed with laser light energy, the treatment area is cleaned with a powerful antiseptic. Then, a cooling gel is applied to the targeted area to ensure your skin remains comfortable and is not be damaged by the heat. Once your safety and comfort are guaranteed, a powerful laser will emit incredibly powerful energy that penetrates your skin deeply.
Despite the laser’s power, however, it may take up to three treatment sessions to remove the mole completely if it is extremely deep and large. If several sessions are required, they will be spaced roughly four to six weeks apart. This gives your skin plenty of time to heal after each session.
What to Expect During Curettage
Curettage and cautery is a non-invasive treatment that involves scraping off a skin lesion, such as a mole. Sometimes, the treatment area is cauterized after the mole is removed. This is to prevent bleeding without the use of stitches that need to be removed after treatment. Even if you opt for cautery after your curettage, you don’t need to worry about scarring after treatment.
The mole is scraped off using a medical-grade, sterile tool. If Dr. Van Reken suspects that the mole is malignant, the area will then be cauterized with an electrosurgical unit known as diathermy or a hot wire beaded tip. This both prevents bleeding without stitches and destroys any melanoma cells. Depending on the size and depth of the mole, cautery is not always necessary.
What to Expect During Radiofrequency Removal
Radiofrequency removal is usually ideal for people who make poor candidates for laser mole removal. Nevertheless, the process is fairly similar. The treatment area is sanitized and a local anesthetic is injected into the area around the mole. If you’re afraid of needles, a topical anesthetic can be used to numb the treatment area before the radiofrequency.
Once the treatment area is cleaned and numbed, the mole is destroyed via radiofrequency energy. This energy is derived from radio waves rather than light waves emitted by lasers. However, rather than destroying the mole from deep within the skin, the energy is transmitted through an electrode loop that shaves the mole away gently, layer by layer.
How Do I Care for My Skin After Treatment?
Post-Laser Treatment Care
After laser removal, you should treat the treated area with the same care as you would any other small cut. Wash the area with care, don’t pick at the skin, and let it heal naturally. After your treatment, protect the treated area from the sun. As much as possible, minimize your time outdoors between the hours of 10 AM and 4 PM, even when it is overcast outside. The clouds will not protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UVC rays.
A broad-spectrum sunscreen, however, will protect your skin. If you don’t like the smell of sunscreen, you can apply a powder to the treated area with a sun protection factor of at least 55. You should also avoid tanning beds for at least two weeks after your removal session. In fact, avoiding tanning beds indefinitely mitigates the risk of basal melanoma cells.
Post-Curettage Treatment Care
After curettage, you will wear a dressing for 24 hours or as advised by Dr. Van Reken. Do not stretch the treated area, and do not exert yourself too much. For 48 hours after treatment, the area should be kept dry. After that, you are free to wash the treated area gently. Finally, you only have to wait two to three days for the area to heal completely.
Post-Radiofrequency Treatment Care
After your radiofrequency treatment, it is crucial that you keep your skin hydrated. This means that you should keep your body hydrated by drinking around three-quarters of a gallon of water, tea, and coffee daily. You can also keep your skin moisturized by applying a gentle, hypoallergenic moisturizer, like Aquaphor or Vaseline.
If you have naturally dry skin, you should apply moisturizers twice daily. If you have normal or oily skin, you should moisturize the treatment area once daily. To speed the recovery process up, you should keep the treated area covered for roughly two weeks. If you have any questions about how to care for your skin, or how your skin is healing, please feel free to reach out.
Do I Need to Have My Mole Removed?
If your mole is healthy, it doesn’t have to be removed. However, you should keep an eye on it to ensure that it doesn’t turn into an unhealthy mole later. If your mole or moles are abnormal, they must be removed to be assessed for skin cancer cells.
If you have melanoma cells in your skin and aren’t tested, the cancer can eventually spread to other parts of your body. Thus, early diagnosis is crucial for your long-term health and safety.
How Do I Know if My Mole Is Unhealthy?
There are five defining characteristics of a mole to look for to determine if it is dangerous, known as the “ABCs” of moles. These are:
- A – asymmetrical
- B – borders that are irregular
- C – colors that are not uniform
- D – diameters over 6 mm
- E – evolving in shape, size or color
One of the most common signs that a mole may be cancerous is a mole that is asymmetrical. For example, you should be particularly wary of a mole that is perfectly round on one side and odd in shape on the other side. If you’re not sure if your mole is symmetrical or there is a small variation in symmetry, Dr. Van Reken’s trained eye can tell.
Another sign that your mole needs to be checked out by a professional immediately is if it has irregular borders. In other words, you should be very wary if you have a mole that is not perfectly round or nearly perfectly round. While there are benign moles that are misshapen, they are the exception rather than the rule.
Colors That Aren’t Uniform
Yet another sign you should have your mole checked out immediately is if it is not uniform in color. Most moles are brown. However, normal, healthy moles may also be black in color. What indicates a problem is if there are other colors mixed integrated into your moles, such as red, purple, pink, or white. If there are color irregularities within your mole, particularly if you have other healthy moles, you should be tested for cancerous cells.
The larger a mole is, the more likely it is to be dangerous. If your mole is over 6 mm in diameter, you should be particularly wary and schedule an appointment with Dr. Van Reken. He can assess all five potential identifying characteristics of dangerous moles to determine the safest course of action for you.
If you were born with a mole or moles that have not changed in shape, size, or color, you don’t need to worry about them unless they are causing you pain, discomfort, or emotional discomfort.
However, if you notice that any one of your moles is changing, you need to come in for a diagnostic test immediately. Since changes can occur slowly, taking pictures of your moles and comparing them over time can help you identify evolution.
Who Is Most at Risk for Developing Melanoma?
There are several risk factors for developing melanoma. Some risk factors you can mitigate and others cannot be changed. Regardless of whether you can change your particular risk factors, it’s important to be aware of the risk factors you have so you can keep a very close eye on your moles for potentially dangerous changes.
Unfortunately, family history is one of the most significant risk factors for developing cancerous skin cells. While you can’t change your genetics, being aware of your immediate family’s medical history is a powerful tool in mitigating your risk of developing skin cancer.
If members of your direct bloodline, such as your parents or grandparents, developed melanoma, you are at a much greater risk of developing the condition. This knowledge may give you the motivation you need to make lifestyle changes that will mitigate your risk.
Using tanning beds is a significant risk factor for developing melanoma. Unfortunately, tanning beds expose you to UV rays that damage your skin. Even worse, when you use a tanning bed, you’re probably not wearing sunscreen to protect yourself from the UV rays. Furthermore, you don’t have clothing or the ozone layer to provide a bit of protection.
Outdoor UV Exposure
Outdoor exposure to UV rays is a bit tricky to prevent. You have to wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen because other sunscreens only protect your skin from UVA and UVB rays. You also have to remember to reapply your sunscreen regularly and ensure you purchase one that is resistant to water.
Finally, you have to ensure that your sunscreen is not expired. However, if you ensure you are using effective sunscreen as directed, you will greatly mitigate your risk of developing skin cancer in the future.
Previous Skin Cancer
Unfortunately, a previous history of skin cancer makes you far more likely than anyone else to develop skin cancer in the future. Sometimes this is easy to identify because a mole may return to the same area it was removed from in the first place. However, you may not know your skin cancer has returned if a mole develops in a new location.
Understanding that having melanoma in the past puts you at significant risk of recurring melanoma in the future puts you in an ideal position to check your skin regularly for new moles. Every new mole should be treated with suspicion, and if it meets any one of the five criteria for abnormality, it should be checked out immediately.
Am I a Good Candidate for Having My Mole Removed?
With Dr. Van Reken’s revolutionary, non-invasive techniques for removing moles, virtually everyone is a good candidate. More importantly, because he offers three removal methods, if you’re a poor candidate for one treatment method, you are probably a good candidate for one of the other two. Here’s what makes a good candidate for each of the removal options.
Good Candidate for Laser Removal
You may be a good candidate for laser removal if your mole is flat and flush against your skin’s surface rather than elevated from the surface of your skin. You are more likely to be a good candidate for this removal method if your mole is black or brown. If your mole has purple or red mixed in the black or brown, the laser will have a harder time targeting the entire mole.
Good Candidate for Curettage and Cautery
You may be a good candidate for curettage and cautery if you have a fairly small mole that is suspected to be cancerous. If the mole is large or deep or has recurred after previous removal, you are not an ideal candidate for curettage and cautery. Furthermore, you may not be an ideal candidate for this treatment if your mole has poorly defined edges.
In other words, you are a good candidate if you have a fairly small mole with well-defined edges that are raised from your skin’s surface, rather than a mole that is deep beneath the surface of the skin. During your initial evaluation, Dr. Van Reken will assess the mole or moles in question to determine if you are an ideal candidate for this removal method.
Good Candidate for Radiofrequency Removal
You may be a good candidate for radiofrequency removal if you are a poor candidate for laser removal. When identifying potential candidates, Dr. Van Reken looks for individuals who are not pregnant, do not have any blood diseases or bleeding disorders, and do not have an active skin infection in the treatment area. Furthermore, an ideal candidate will not have suffered from a bacterial or viral infection within the two weeks before treatment.
Learn More About Improving Your Health and Self-Esteem Today
If your mole or moles are asymmetrical or odd colors or exhibit other signs of malignancy, you need non-invasive mole removal. To learn more about moles, the threats they pose to your health, or how Dr. Calvin H. Van Reken removes them, contact our renowned team of experts today at Reno Sparks MedSpa in Reno, NV to schedule your initial consultation.
Dr. Van Reken will visually assess your mole or moles to determine if they are healthy or not. If upon visual inspection, your moles appear to be unhealthy, samples will be taken to be tested for the presence of malignant cells. Regardless of the treatment method chosen, your safety and comfort will be ensured. Furthermore, we are here for you after your treatment if you have any questions about your recovery.