Does mole removal hurt?

My boyfriend has a lot of moles on his upper back that he really does not like. They've all been checked and tested and—knock wood—there was nothing to worry about. Thankfully! I've since been trying to convince him to have them removed but he's been so stubbornly resistant to the idea and I think what's standing in his way is the idea that the procedure will be painful. And, I think, he doesn't want to admit to me that he's afraid of the pain but that's bullshit because I don't think less of him for being reluctant to put himself through something that was going to generate considerable discomfort! I think his is a pretty normal reaction. So I'm hoping you can give me some concrete info to offer to him regarding the level of pain involved in mole removal. No sugar-coating. I'm thinking it's something he and I can go through together. I thank you very much for your help.


F, 33, California

Tags:man back mole pain excision removal

Mole removal is a relatively painless procedure. Local anesthetic is administered prior to shaving and excision and there should be no sensation at all during the procedure.

Typically the entire procedure is over in a matter of minutes and the scar should heal in under two weeks. Initially, there will be a pink scar but over time the scar will fade until it matches the surrounding skin.

Another option which your boyfriend may wish to consider is laser mole removal. Laser mole removal is typically not used for atypical or potentially cancerous moles but, as you noted, this does not appear to be an issue in his particular case. Laser therapy uses intense light energy to heat and destroy the mole. It is particularly effective on raised moles.

I encourage your boyfriend to seek the advice of a board-certified dermatologist to discuss which options are best for him and to put to rest any concerns about mole removal being inordinately painful.

Mole removal is a relatively painless procedure. Patients can expect a minor 'sting' as the dermatologist or plastic surgeon injects lidocaine or another local anesthetic. After the anesthetic has been injected, the surrounding skin will be numbed and there should be no sensation at all.

In addition to the local anesthetic, your doctor may also administer an oral sedative which will help with anxiety during the removal procedure.

Having a mole removed is a fast, simple and relatively painless procedure. I can't speak to your boyfriend’s specific case or offer any direct medical advice without a consultation. Some moles, like some facial moles, may present more complex plastic surgery challenges.

Atypical moles which have irregular borders, or moles larger than the size of a pencil eraser should be biopsied to rule out skin cancer. If his dermatologist has already determined that there is no threat of more serious complications, this should be considered a purely cosmetic procedure.

The surgeon may offer some oral sedation for anxiety/ pain. The procedure is relatively painless. First the area is marked with a pen, then local anesthetic is injected. The local does sting a tiny bit. Once the local begins working, the area will be completely numb, and the patient will not feel anything.