Now take mole surgery. One of the things that attracted me to Dermatology is the fact that I use all my medical knowledge. I use my surgical knowledge as well as my physician knowledge. That means I use my hands as well as my brain and in dermatology where we excel is in the removal of skin lesions. Often these lesions are very small; most surgeons dismiss them as being trivial but some of the worst skin lesions can be the most important to remove and the example of that is melanoma skin cancer, which can kill you unless it is removed early so I take mole checking very seriously but equally I’m very keen to remove benign lesions and do them in such a way to leave a minimal or hardly any scar if I can.
If I have any concerns about the safety of removing a lesion I’ll discuss it with you and discuss whether you should see a plastic surgeon, rather than myself.
Generally speaking there are 2 categories of mole removal.
One is a medical indication where you’re worried something might be cancerous, and you tend to be doing what we call a biopsy taking the lesion out, sending it to the hospital, getting it checked under a microscope; and that’s for the different types of skin cancer…. Melanoma which is mole cancer, Basal cell cancer and Squamous cell cancer and some other rare ones.
The other big category of mole surgery is benign moles, ones that are harmless but are not pretty. We have a variety of techniques to cater to every skin type. Some respond better to a surgical procedure, others to a laser procedure and part of the expertise of mole removal is in knowing what to use and when.
Let’s now talk about mole surgery. There are two different categories of mole surgery.
One is medical mole surgery, checking for whether something is cancerous or not and the other is cosmetic mole surgery where you’re removing unwanted, benign skin lesions.
One of the reasons I went into Dermatology and was attracted to it is because it is both a medical specialty and a surgical specialty. I use my head to think about people’s problems with their skin and I use my hands to help fix physical problems with the skin. With many patients who are seeing me about cosmetic concerns, the very same sun that has damaged their skin increases their risk of skin cancer so therefore I always have my eye out for early skin cancer and that is an automatic part of any consultation in my office.
If necessary I can schedule you to come in and I have a half day a week set aside purely for skin cancer surgery or I can bring you in to have benign lesions removed.
Benign lesions we don’t tend to send into the lab and there’s a variety of ways of removing them. I always counsel you as to the way that’s the most optimal process for you, the one that’s least likely to leave a significant scar and we’ll go through all your options as necessary.