This procedure involves the removal of pigmented growths on the skin (moles).
Moles are made up of cells that produce melanin (the pigment that colors hair and skin, except in red heads). Their color can be pink, varying shades of brown and even black. They are a common type of “birthmark” and frequently do not require any specific medical treatment.
A skin biopsy to check for abnormal, or cancerous, cells is almost always done at the same time a mole is removed. The biopsy can be done using various methods. The specific method depends on the type and size of the mole as well as the area of the body involved. The removal and biopsy of small moles can often be performed in a healthcare provider's office. In some cases they may need to be performed in an operating room.
Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are two types of cancer that are usually very slow growing. Therefore, their cure rate is very high. A third type of skin cancer called melanoma is often more aggressive. When melanoma is found at a stage where it can be entirely removed by surgery, the outlook is usually very good. If it is not found until it has already spread, melanoma is very difficult to treat. Here is a list of things you can do to help prevent the development of skin damage and skin cancer:
Contact your healthcare provider if you have any changes in an existing mole. Your healthcare provider may recommend removal of the mole and a skin biopsy. Prior to the procedure you should tell him or her about any medications you are taking (including over-the-counter medications and supplements). Ask if there are any specific instructions you should follow before and after the procedure. These may include:
What should I ask my healthcare provider before having a mole removal and skin biopsy?
After your procedure, you should know what you had done, what medication was given (if any) and what symptoms you should report to your healthcare provider. You should also understand all home care instructions (including medications and side effects) and follow-up plans.
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