Editorial note: this article was updated on June 26, 2020.
- Mole risk
- Mole depth
- Mole monitoring
- Mole removal scarring
- Pain tolerance
- Number of moles
- Budget and affordability
Many people get moles at one time or another. While they usually pose no threat, people can nonetheless be self-conscious about them, especially if they are located on the face.
While there are many options available for mole removal, they are not all suitable for certain cases. Whether for budget reasons, or for effectiveness, certain types of mole extractions may be recommended to you.
Below we explain the reasons you may want to consider laser mole removal, specifically.
1) Your mole is purely aesthetic and does not pose a risk of cancer
If your doctor has given you the ‘clear’ to say that your mole is not dangerous, laser mole removal may be right for you. Laser mole surgery is usually reserved for the purely aesthetic cases, where medical attention is not needed to address the health risks of a mole.
If your mole needs a biopsy to check for cancer, some cutting will be needed at first. Even if laser mole removal can be done afterwards, be prepared for an initial ‘shave’ of tissue. It may need time to heal.
2) Your mole does not run deep into the skin
When a mole reaches deep into your dermal layer, laser mole removal may not be able to get all of it out. This is a concern for moles that can turn into melanoma. Surgical excision would be a more sure-fire way to extract all the pigments in these cases.
If your mole is flatter and smaller, or if it is raised above the skin, it can be easily removed with a laser. This also goes for skin tags and warts, which can be mistaken for moles.
A doctor will be able to tell you how far deep into your skin your mole probably runs. You should never, ever try to determine this on your own. Never attempt to cut out your own mole!
3) You are tired of monitoring your mole, and are worried it will turn into melanoma
Even if your current moles are benign, that does not mean they can’t eventually become malignant. Moles must be watched carefully for changes. The ones that increase in size or change in colour could indicate skin cancer.
If you prefer to get rid of moles right away, instead of continuously watching for changes, laser mole removal may be right for you.
Please keep in mind that even if you have had one or a few moles removed by laser, or by any other means, you should regularly examine your body for new moles.
4) You don’t want to form a scar after mole removal
Compared to other extraction methods, laser mole removal leaves patients with less risk of scarring. This is because laser light breaks down the pigment in the mole, yet does not cause as much damage to the skin directly. In other words, there is no cutting involved in this procedure. This also reduces the risk of infection.
In many cases, there will be no evidence that a mole was ever present, once the lesion completely dissipates. This makes it ideal for face moles.
If you are prone to forming keloid scars, let your doctor know before undergoing mole removal. They may need to plan ahead for the likelihood of that happening.
5) You have low pain tolerance and surgical mole removal scares you
With laser mole removal, there is much less pain involved when compared to surgical cutting, shave excision, cryosurgery or electric cauterization. Since a laser beam is directed narrowly at the mole’s pigments, the surrounding skin is mostly untouched during the procedure. Even while ‘zapping’ only the mole itself, pain is usually reduced to a mild tingling sensation.
Now, there can be swelling and a slight ‘burning’ feeling after the procedure. However, it is bearable for most people (aftercare instructions are also given, to help with this issue). Patients usually resume their normal activities right away.
Makeup can be worn on the area when it heals, which takes roughly 2 weeks. This is much faster than the healing time needed for surgical removal.
6) You want to remove more than one mole, in a faster session
Since laser mole removal is faster than cutting, it is ideal for cases where there are several moles that need to be removed. A laser can quickly ‘zap’ these away one-by-one. This also means less pain during an otherwise lengthy procedure, which can make it more tolerable for patients (though anaesthetic is also an option when cutting).
Mole removal can take around 30 to 60 minutes. However, this timeline will always depend on the specific case being addressed. Large moles may need more than one session to be completely removed. And, multiple moles may need more time in session.
7) You have the budget for private laser mole removal services
In British Columbia, the Medical Services Plan (MSP) does not cover the cost of aesthetic mole removal.
So, most of the time, laser mole removal is an elective, out-of-pocket expense for patients. This may also be the case in other regions around the world.
While each person’s cost for laser mole removal will be based on their individual needs, most people spend hundreds of dollars to undergo this procedure. Removing several moles this way can run into the thousands, especially if multiple treatment sessions are needed.
If budget is a concern, you may want to seek insured services to have your mole removed, if they are available to you.
To conclude: laser mole removal is an excellent option for specific cases
As we’ve seen above, laser surgery is a fantastic way to have nuisance moles removed without scarring, downtime or much pain either. However, using a laser to remove moles, skin tags or even warts is usually reserved for the cases that can benefit the most from it. This includes non-cancerous, shallow or above-skin moles, when the patient can afford the procedure.