How effective are lasers for permanently getting rid of moles?
Thank you for your question. When patients attend for mole removal, we will always examine the moles first to ensure these are harmless and suitable for cosmetic removal. Mole removal can be achieved either by laser or by surgery, and there are pros and cons to each.
Laser removal - Can be used for flat or raised moles. Very good response for small flat brown moles, usually requiring 1-2 sessions, and have minimal scarring. Also useful for raised moles in difficult to cut out areas such as around lips, eyes or nose. After laser treatment, you will have some scabbing which will usually fall off after 7-10 days leaving a temporary brown mark that fades over time. There is always a risk of recurrence with laser removal of moles, especially for the raised moles. Saying that, a repeat treatment can be easily performed.
Surgical removal - Moles can also be cut out surgically so that all of the mole cells are removed from the base. This results in moles being permanently removed, with no chance of recurrence if done correctly. Another benefit is that the removed mole can also be sent to the lab for testing to ensure it is harmless if the mole looks suspicious. After removal, stitches need to be applied to close the wound, and there will be a scar. This may look quite obvious initially, but usually heals up beautifully in 6-12 months. Also there are always lasers that can be used to help the scar fade faster if that is a concern.
Hope this is helpful!
Dr Stephanie Ho, Dermatologist
Lasers are great for removing superficial moles that do not go deep into the skin. With junctional naevi, the chance of recurrence is low as long as the mole is completely removed with good technique. If the mole is too deep (compound or dermal naevi), your doctor will likely advise you to excise it as a permanent solution. Laser removal would leave behind some tissue and the risk of recurrence would be higher.
That said, please have your moles looked at by a licensed doctor to make sure they are not suspicious before having them removed by a laser! Some moles can be dangerous and need a histological diagnosis - looked under a microscope.
Hope this helps!
Dr Harvey Ho
The first step is to rule out the possibility of any malignancy. If from history and physical examination the mole is likely benign, it can be removed either via an ablative laser or excision biopsy depending on size (main aim is to reduce risk of scarring and recurrence).
Either method can be done as a quick office lunch time procedure. If the mole benign, risk of recurrence is low.
Hope this helps!
Dr David Deng
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