Annabelle L. Garcia, MD

San Antonio Dermatology

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Moles

Mole Checks and Mole Removal in San Antonio, TX*

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What are Moles?

Moles (nevi) are common skin lesions found all over the body, which are normally harmless and don’t require treatment. Most people have at least a few moles that appear as dark spots, usually brown or black, as a result of pigmented skin cells. They can appear alone or in clusters where 10 to 40 are typical for adults. For moles that appear asymmetrical, have more than one color, an irregular border, large in size or evolve with a change in color, shape or size, these could be signs of skin cancer. This is when a patient should see San Antonio dermatologist, Dr. Garcia, for a checkup.

Dr. Garcia will examine the patient to see if the moles are cancerous. If moles are cancerous, causing pain or just unwanted due to unattractiveness, Dr. Garcia can remove them. If a mole is thought to be cancerous, Dr. Garcia can perform additional testing.

Symptoms of Moles

A typical mole is a brown spot found virtually anywhere on the body, including the fingers, toes, scalp, and even under the fingernails. The most common areas for most to collect are on the trunk or on the back of an individual. Moles can take on various sizes and shapes, and range in color from black, tan, pink, blue or red. In general, moles are about 6 mm or ¼ of an inch in diameter. While most moles are benign, some can be diagnosed as dysplastic, which means it is an active mole and is changing. This change may result in no visible difference in size, shape, or color, or it could turn into a cancerous growth. In most cases, this is known as a melanoma and if not treated, can be life threatening.

Cancerous Moles

Dermatologists recommend that patients watch for any changes to their moles and get mole checks on a regular basis. By using the ABCDE test to determine whether a mole could be cancerous, is helpful in remembering what to look for. Moles could be cancerous if the following characteristics exhibit change:

  • Asymmetrical: They are not even or equal in size.
  • Borders: They have irregular or scalloped borders.
  • Color:  They begin to change color or have an uneven color.
  • Diameter:  They are larger than 6 mm in diameter.
  • Evolves:  They begin to evolve in color, shape, size or height.

Watch out for a mole that turns either partly or completely black. A patient should call our office immediately if the mole exhibits any of the ABCDE characteristics described above, is painful, oozes, bleeds, burns, itches, or has appeared out of nowhere. If a person is over the age of 30 and has a mole regrow after it has been previous removed, this is also a warning sign.

Treatment for Moles

Most moles don’t warrant treatment but if a doctor determines any to be suspicious or cancerous or if a patient complains of discomfort, irritation or cosmetic issues, the doctor may need to remove the mole. In surgical excision, the area around the mole will be numbed and then using a scalpel or similar device, the mole and some surrounding skin will be removed. The wound will then be closed with stitches. Sometimes, if the mole is surface-level, a surgical shave can be performed where the area is numbed and a small blade is used to cut all around and beneath the mole. Stitches are not required for this method.

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Whether you have moles that are bothersome or unattractive or ones that are unusual in appearance that could point to a sign of melanoma, it is time to contact our office of specially-trained professionals to find out your treatment options. Our office specializes in treating a wide variety of moles from those that are benign to the cancerous ones. We have cosmetic procedures such as microdermabrasion and laser therapy available to get rid of benign, unwanted moles. If we find any moles to be cancerous, we can treat you from the initial consultation to choosing the right procedure to post-op care. We are committed to providing you with the level of care that you require and deserve.

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*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.

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