Your body is peppered in moles and you’re scared of melanoma or just hate the look, so just how many of your moles can be removed at the same time by a dermatologist?
“This depends on so many factors, including your patience!” says Estee Williams, MD, a board certified medical, cosmetic and surgical dermatologist and assistant clinical professor in dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center.
Factors Influencing How Many Moles Maximum Can Be Removed at the Same Time
Dr. Williams explains, “Theoretically, all your moles could be removed at once (bad idea), but there’s a number of things to consider.”
There is no threat to your body if a doctor patiently and carefully removes every mole on your body, right down to the last one.
In other words, there’s no threat to your blood pressure; no threat of blood clots, cardiac arrest or stroke, hemorrhaging or other complication that’s a realistic fallout with major surgery.
However, a dermatologist will not remove a bunch of moles at once for several reasons.
Dr. Williams explains, “Each mole removal requires a bandage that needs proper care.
“If a mole is being sent to a lab for testing it’s best not to send too many lesions at once to avoid any potential errors.
“Normal moles do not need to be removed altogether.
“Each time we remove a mole, there is a chance that there will be a scar, however unnoticeable. You have to ask yourself whether you’re bothered enough with the mole that you would trade it for a scar.”
Even if you’re having moles removed for cosmetic purposes, every one of them should be biopsied.
An early melanoma isn’t always visible to the naked eye, but can easily be identified under a microscope.
If too many moles makes you dreading monthly skin exams, you can dramatically up the ante of your melanoma surveillance by using a technology called serial digital dermoscopy.
This state-of-the-art technology is available at Dr. Williams’ clinic, and it involves annual images of your moles taken and fed into a computer database, where a special algorithm ranks each mole with a melanoma-suspicion index.
Images are also compared to previously taken ones to see if there are any changes over time, such as increasing size and decreasing symmetry.
As for the maximum number of moles that can—from a medical or cosmetic perspective—be removed at the same time, no number has been established.