Mole Removal

Latest update: April 19, 2024
Medically reviewed by: Jordan Frey MD


Moles come in various sizes and colors. All moles must be examined yearly by a board-certified dermatologist.  While some moles are benign, large moles or moles changing in size or color have a higher risk of becoming cancerous. 

Patients may opt to remove moles for cosmetic or medical reasons.

There are surgical and non-surgical methods for mole removal.

Surgical methods:
There are different excision methods to remove moles. These include surgical, punch, and shave excision techniques. Before an excision procedure, patients will have to undergo a medical examination. During your skin examination, the doctor will examine, measure, and photograph the moles. The method of excision depends on the patient's age, size of the mole, and the location of the mole. Before the procedure, surgeons will cleanse and sterilize the area before injecting a local anesthetic. A typical excision procedure can take 5 minutes to an hour, depending on the method used and the mole's size.

Patients might need surgical excision for large moles, especially if it is suspicious of cancer.  An incision is made around the mole to remove the entire mass before suturing the skin together.

The punch excision technique is best for small, flat moles. This technique utilizes a punch tool, which looks like a cookie-cutter, to extract the entire mole.  For moles that are 1mm in size, no sutures are needed, but if they are 2mm and bigger, sutures are necessary.

Shave excisions work best for raised moles.  During the procedure, the doctor will shave off the outer layers of the mole with a sharp tool like a scalpel. They may have to cut deeper depending on the location of the mole. Shaving will not require stitches, only bandages. 

Non-surgical methods:
Lasers and radio wave energy have been used to remove moles.  It is not recommended  because the tissue is destroyed and cannot be sent to the lab for analysis.
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I Filmed My Entire Facial Mole Removal // Here Is My Experience & What To Expect (Mole Shaving)

YouTuber, Quynh Pham, heads to her dermatologist to have a mole on her face removed and takes us along for the ride. She talks about her reasons for opting for this procedure and tells us why she waited so long to get it done. She lets us know what her doctor told her about the procedure and tells us what to expect. The video shows the procedure.


Dr. Davin Lim performs mole removal with a laser. He tells us about the advantages of laser resurfacing. He explains how hundreds of moles can be treated in a short period of time. He explains which moles respond best to this type of treatment and talks about other considerations. He talks about the procedure and recovery time.