Benign Skin Lesions (Nevi)

Nevi (commonly known as moles) are benign skin lesions formed mostly by melanocytes and they may be congenital or appear during childhood or puberty, mainly due to sun burns. Moles are not a danger to our health and their removal is done mostly for cosmetic purposes. However if you notice a change of color or size in a nevus you should have it removed, preferably surgically, in order to have it checked and rule out the possibility of cancer.

Who’s a good candidate?

Removing benign skin lesions is a procedure that concerns patients who are bothered by cosmetic or functional problems because of these lesions. Nevi are usually a benign skin lesion and it is not necessary to remove them, especially if they are flat.

Facts I need to know

Some of these benign skin lesions (dermal nevi) stand above the skin surface and are often located at places that obstruct everyday clothing or are injured by the use of fashion accessories and as a result, they cause small wounds so it is better to remove them with laser. In other cases a mole can be located in a part of the face, around the nose or the mouth, and cause a cosmetic concern for patients, so we may remove it with laser or a surgical method, depending on the its size, its location and its form. Patients must always surgically remove skin lesions if there is cancer suspicion. Moles are removed under local anesthesia at the office and patients return home immediately. The procedure is short and so is recovery. After the surgery the doctor decides if biopsy is necessary to rule out malignancy. If the doctor removes a mole, as well as some tissue around it, surgically she will stitch the surrounding skin back together. In some cases however, like in the case of junctional dermal moles that are benign lesions, removal takes place with less invasive methods, like laser or diathermy treatment . Procedure is short and depends on the size and the number of nevi removed.

Recovery Time

After removing a mole the area around it may be red and slightly swollen. The surgery doesn’t cause particular soreness. Depending on the area where the procedure has been performed and provided there were stitches made, patients should be careful when moving until they are removed. Initiallly there is a small visible scar but it gradually fades in the next 3 months. In the case of nevi removed with laser recovery is immediate and patients are only instructed to apply antibiotic cream on the area treated.

Doctor’s Remarks

It is very important to select a plastic surgeon with experience at skin lesions diagnosis as well as the appropriate removal method. It is also highly important to have the correct diagnosis and avoid useless or even harmful removals of lesions, with laser or cryoablation. Every suspicious lesion must be thouroughly checked by the doctor or even by a skin biopsy. I was trained in Skin Lesions surgery during the period of my specialty as a surgeon in the General Oncology Hospital Agioi Anargiroi where I dealt with several different cases.