Nevus removal is one of the most common reasons for visiting a plastic surgeon or dermatologist. This is a simple and almost painless procedure performed for aesthetic and diagnostic purposes.
A nevus or mole is a cell formation. Medically speaking, it is considered benign skin damage, but to some extent it is the manifestation of normal human body processes rather than a health concern. It consists of melanocytes producing melanin, a substance responsible our skin color.
Nevi may be present in the human body from birth (congenital nevi), but most are formed during childhood and adolescence and continue to develop over time (acquired nevi). In addition, the nevi may be epidermal or chorionic, i.e., they may be in lower layers of the epidermis. As for their appearance, nevi vary in size and color (they can be brownish, beige, dark blue or black) and may also exhibit hair growth.
The factors that can affect nevus appearance and number are:
- Skin type. It is widely known that people with very light skin, light-colored eyes or even freckles, have more nevi.
- Sun radiation. Chronic exposure to sunlight and the resulting sunburn, especially in childhood, exacerbates the formation of nevi.
- Inheritance. People with a family history of melanoma or hereditary diseases, such as dysplastic neoplasm syndrome, should be particularly careful in any new nevus.
- Aging. Over time, as all medical issues, nevi are exacerbated.
A significant number of people visit a specialist physician to remove nevi for aesthetic or practical reasons. A nevus may be unattractive or cause a problem in everyday life, for example if it is epidermal and constantly injured.
The most significant cause for nevus removal is the risk of it being transformed into a melanoma. After thorough medical examination and assessment – and a dermatoscopy – the nevus is removed for histological examination.
ADCDE nevus assessment
A specialist applies several methods to assess whether a nevus is suspected of malignancy, such as dermatoscopy and mapping. A reliable first level method is ABCDE, which assesses five key nevus features that are potential signs of a nevus transformation and can be performed by the subject him/herself.
- A– Asymmetry: The nevus exhibits asymmetry and divided into two, the two parts are not the same.
- B– Border: The nevus outline is not smooth, but it is rather irregular in shape with small angles, etc.
- C– Color: The nevus has no uniform color, but many shades or color changes.
- D– Diameter: Its diameter and size is greater than 6mm.
- E– Evolving: A benign nevus does not change over time. Therefore, any change in color, size, shape, etc. is a factor to be assessed.
In addition, a possible sign of malignancy is skin sensitivity, pain, bleeding and itching above and around the nevus.
Surgical nevus removal
Nevus removal is a simple and relatively painless procedure, so it is possible to remove more than one nevus in the same session if medically assessed. Surgery duration depends on the number of nevi to be removed and technique applied.
Nevus removal techniques
Nevi can be removed in two ways: laser and surgical removal. Usually, laser removal is preferred when nevus is removed for aesthetic and practical reasons and is small and superficial, while nevus removal for diagnosis is performed only by surgery. However, as each case is different, only the physician is able to decide which method is appropriate in each case.
In both methods, operation is performed under local anesthesia.
After laser nevus removal, there is sensitivity to the skin treated. It is recommended to avoid local friction and exposure to sun radiation for a few days.
After surgical nevus removal, sutures are applied to be removed after a few days, leaving a small scar that fades out over time. Until healing, avoid contact with water and pursue meticulous cleaning of the area to avoid any infection, bleeding or inflammation.
Nevus removal cost depends on the technique applied. If malignancy is suspected, the cost of dermatoscopy and histological examination should be taken into account as well.