Moles, cysts and skin tags are extremely common on the face and other parts of the body. They can be cosmetically embarrassing as well as cause problems when shaving and catch on clothing.
Cosmetech’s Consultant surgeons specialise in the removal of cosmetic moles and skin tags. In the vast majority of cases all of these lesions are benign. But if there is any clinical concern about the nature of the lesion it can be sent off for testing.
At the consultation we will perform a mole skin check to see if the mole or skin lesion should be sent for testing (histology) to rule out anything suspicious. This is not obligatory, but is recommended should the doctor be concerned.
A: In most cases these can be done under a local anaesthetic. If there are no concerns about its nature, they can be either shaved off, or excised. Some skin lesions can also be treated by freezing the skin – termed cryotherapy. All options are discussed with the patient beforehand
Skin tags are a bit easier and can be removed by cutting, freezing (cryotherapy) or burning off (electrotherapy). This should be done in a controlled sterile setting to minimise the risk of infection, and they do bleed so the clinic needs to be able to manage this.
Moles are usually excised with a scalpel. Occasionally they are shaved off, but to ensure completion of the removal, especially if there are any suspicious features, the whole depth of the skin needs to be removed in one piece. Moles should be sent to the lab for pathology to ensure there are no suspicious cells. At Cosmetech we send all moles for pathology.
A: If there is going to be significant discomfort the doctor or surgeon should usually administer local anaesthetic to numb the area. There will be mild discomfort as the anaesthetic is being injected but it is usually not significant. The anaesthetic takes effect within a couple of minutes. For very small skin tags, they can sometimes be frozen off without anaesthetic. Cosmetech has local anaesthetic cream which can be applied in clinic in advance of the procedure. We don’t like causing pain and make every effort to minimise it.
A: Most of these procedures are very quick. A mole can be removed and the skin sutured within 5 to 10 minutes. Administration of anaesthetic and skin preparation adds some time. If several lesions are being removed it will take a bit longer. A skin tag can be removed in a matter of seconds, but again, it is key that this is done in a controlled sterile setting (don’t try this at home).
A: Usually there is no issue with driving, unless for example the lesion was near the eye and vision was temporarily affected by swelling or watering. Hand surgery can also affect driving, but the vast majority of these lesions are small enough not to cause a problem. If in doubt bring a friend or relative or take a taxi.
A: There is usually a dressing for the first 3 to 7 days and, depending upon the operation site, sutures may need to be removed. On the face these are often removed between 5 to 7 days, but are left a bit longer on other body areas. Again these should be removed by someone skilled and experience. Doing it incorrectly can leave bits of stitch in the skin, or risk reopening the wound. After about a week most wounds do not need dressed, but should be kept clean. Paraffin ointment often helps at this time. Depending on your surgeon, the wound may be dressed with ointment alone or sometimes skin glue.
A: All surgery which cuts through the full depth of skin will leave a scar. Skin tag excision shouldn’t leave much noticeable scarring but mole excision usually will. The quality of the scar can vary depending on genetics. To optimise the scar we perform precise stitching, remove stitches at the appropriate time, and encourage scar management in the form of moisturising and massage. Scars can take up to 2 years to mature to their final appearance. If a scar does become thicker or remain red for a long time then there are treatments such as steroid injections or laser colour reduction. These are thankfully rarely necessary.
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Everyone was excellent, and I mean excellent, i don't normally write congratulatory e-mails so this is high praise in my view. The Senior nurse was excellent, as was the Theatre nurse and the anaesthetist. Even the assistants that helped with catering and other duties. All came together to form a great impression of the establishment." Jason Carpal Tunnel Surgery, Kingsbridge Patient
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