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Moles in Austin, TX

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What are Moles?

Dr. Renee Snyder and her team of board-certified dermatologists offer routine mole checks for patients throughout the greater Austin, TX area. During mole checks, we examine, measure, and document the size, shape, and growth of moles on the body to ensure they are safe and not changing or cancerous. Most people have a mole of some sort on their body. A mole is a growth on the skin that results from a cluster of pigmented cells. They can be brown, black, or a variation of these colors, and can appear alone or in groups. Moles can also be flat or appear as a round bump. While some individuals are born with moles, it is common to develop them later in life and although most are harmless, some can develop into cancer. If you have moles on your body and are unsure of the health of one, or if one becomes bothersome, it is necessary to see a dermatologist, especially if one begins to change in size or shape, or if it itches or bleeds.

Symptoms of Moles

A typical mole is a brown spot found virtually anywhere on the body, including the fingers, toes, scalp, and even under the fingernails. The most common areas for most to collect are on the trunk or on the back of an individual. Moles can take on various sizes and shapes, and range in color from black, tan, pink, blue or red. In general, moles are about 6 mm or ¼ of an inch in diameter. While most moles are benign, some can be diagnosed as dysplastic, which means it is an active mole and is changing. This change may result in no visible difference in size, shape, or color, or it could turn into a cancerous growth. In some cases, this is known as a melanoma and if not treated, can be life threatening.

Cancerous Moles

Dermatologists recommend that patients watch for any changes to their moles and get mole checks on a regular basis. By using the ABCDE test to determine whether a mole could be cancerous, it is helpful in remembering what to look for. Moles could be cancerous if the following characteristics exhibit change:

  • Asymmetrical: They are not even or equal in size when cut in half.
  • Borders: They have irregular or scalloped borders.
  • Color:  They begin to change color or have an uneven color.
  • Diameter:  They are larger than 6 mm in diameter.
  • Evolves:  They begin to evolve (grow or change) in color, shape, size or height. 

Watch out for a mole that turns either partly or completely black. A patient should call our office immediately if the mole exhibits any of the ABCDE characteristics described above, is painful, oozes, bleeds, burns, itches, or has appeared out of nowhere.  

How to Treat Moles

Most moles don’t warrant treatment but if a doctor determines any to be suspicious or cancerous or if a patient complains of discomfort, irritation or cosmetic issues, the doctor may need to remove the mole. In surgical excision, the area around the mole will be locally numbed and a scalpel or similar device is used to remove the mole and some surrounding skin. The wound will then be closed with stitches. Sometimes, if the mole is surface-level, a surgical shave can be performed where the area is locally numbed and a small blade is used to cut all around and beneath the mole. Stitches are not required for this method.

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Whether you have moles that are bothersome or unattractive or ones that are unusual in appearance that could point to a sign of melanoma, it is time to contact our office of specially-trained board certified dermatologists to find out your treatment options. Our office specializes in treating a wide variety of moles from those that are benign to the cancerous ones.  If we find any moles to be cancerous, we can treat you from the initial consultation to choosing the right procedure to post-op care. We are committed to providing you with the level of care that you require and deserve.

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