Does mole removal surgery leave a scar?

Does mole removal surgery leave a scar, submitted image.

The reason I want to get rid of my facial mole is that I want to have a clean, neat face, but it won't be worth it if I end up with an noticeable scar.


F, 37, Tennessee

Tags:woman age 35-44 upper lip mole scar excision removal

Yes, mole removal surgery always leaves a scar. But those scars tend to be far less visible than the moles they leave behind. A mole removal procedure is an extremely common plastic surgery procedure. Most dermatologists remove hundreds if not thousands of moles per year. The procedure is very quick (often lasting under five minutes) and is painless.

In the hands of a skilled and experienced doctor, the chances of a very visible or unattractive scar are extremely low. There are two primary techniques used to remove moles: Shave excision or a traditional excision which is closed with a suture. Which technique is used in any case depends on the characteristics and location of the individual mole.

If the mole is benign, shallow and elevated above the surface level of the skin your doctor may recommend removing the mole using thin horizontal incisions. This technique, known as scalpel sculpting, often requires no stitches, and creates extremely minimal scarring which is barely perceptible in most cases.

Following scalpel sculpting, your doctor may use an additional technique called "dermaplaning" which mildly abrades the edges of the mole to blend it in to the surrounding skin.

While I can't offer you any specific advice regarding which mole removal technique is best for you without an examination, from your photo it looks like mole removal would be a very simple procedure. If your mole bothers you, I absolutely wouldn't let fear of scarring deter you from taking the next steps. 

Any surgical procedure that excises tissue will leave a scar by definition. There's no way around that basic fact. But I wouldn’t let the fear of scarring keep you from having a mole removed.

While removing a mole always leaves a scar, keep in mind that facial skin heals very well and the scars will fade over time. After the healing process is complete, mole removal scars are often nearly invisible -- and certainly less visible than brown spots.


For the removal of benign moles, a shallow excision technique called "scalpel sculpting" can be used. Scalpel sculpting cuts a mole horizontally, very close to the surface of the skin, leaving minimal scarring. The technique, however, is inappropriate for precancerous skin moles. In these cases the entire mole needs to be excised.

If your moles are very small and you’re removing them purely for cosmetic reasons, another option to consider is laser mole removal.

If you’re concerned about the possibility of scarring, I suggest you discuss your specific case with a board certified-dermatologist or plastic surgeon who ideally has a lot of experience removing facial moles.

In the vast majority of cases, mole removal is a very quick procedure and results in minimal, barely visible scarring. The procedure can often be performed in one or two minutes, and has a quick healing time.

To answer your question about scarring: Any time a scalpel blade is used to remove a mole there will be some scarring, there's no way around that. When a skilled plastic surgeon uses the right surgical techniques to achieve the best possible scar, it is usually very minimal and difficult to see.

While the incision from mole removal usually heals very quickly, the final results shouldn't be judged until scar formation is complete and has had time to naturally fade. After about six months, scars are far less conspicuous -- if they are even visible at all.

Depending on the size, position, and color of the mole, your doctor may recommend a shave excision. "Shaving" a mole is a little different from a formal excision and involves multiple horizontal cuts to successively remove the mole layer by layer. A shave excision procedure takes a little longer but can result in nearly invisible scars. The procedure is appropriate for small moles on the very surface of the skin. It may not be appropriate for very dark moles or moles requiring a deep excision.

If your doctor recommends a traditional suture incision instead, he or she may recommend a layered suture closure and a combination of non-dissolving and dissolving sutures for the most aesthetic result.

If your mole is bothering you or causing quality of life issues, I urge you to contact a board-certified dermatologist or board-certified plastic surgeon to discuss which options are best for you.

Any time there's an incision, there's going to be a scar. The question of whether or not to excise a facial mole or birthmark for cosmetic reasons is always a difficult one. The decision should be made based on the size, visibility and color of the mole -- and on how much it bothers you.

The good news is that facial skin typically heals extremely well. If the best surgical procedures are followed and if your plastic surgeon is experienced with facial mole removal, the risks of a prominent, obvious scar are minimal. Over time, mole removal scars should heal to match the color of the surrounding skin. As the mole removal scar fades it should be much less visible than the original mole, often to the point of being nearly invisible.

While I can't give you any specific medical advice without an examination, based on your photograph, I think a tiny mole excision scar would be far less prominent than the existing dark brown mole.

In the unlikely event that the surgical excision did leave an unsightly scar, there are multiple options like laser treatments which can help fade its visible appearance.

Mole removal surgery is very fast, and very simple surgery. It can be accomplished very quickly. While facial scars heal very quickly, you should wait a minimum of six months before assessing your surgery results and considering additional scar treatments -- if any are necessary at all.

If your mole is bothering you, I encourage you to meet with a board-certified plastic surgeon who has experience in mole removal to discuss which options are best for you.

When facial moles are excised with meticulous technique by an experienced cosmetic surgeon, there is little to no risk of unsightly scarring.

Cosmetic surgery to remove a mole or beauty mark is generally very quick and uncomplicated. In most cases the procedure can be completed in a minute or two. While healing time is usually a matter of days to a couple weeks depending on the size and placement of the mole, the overall healing process natural fading can take anywhere from six to nine months.

After the scar has fully healed, and after scar formation is complete and matches the color of its surrounding skin, the results should be nearly invisible. In almost all cases, scarring is very minimal and significantly less visible than the beauty mark or mole prior to removal.

We have had excellent success removing facial moles, and have a long roster of satisfied patients. I can't give you any direct advice without an examination, but judging purely from the presentation in your attached photo I think mole removal would be simple and uncomplicated.

There are also some postoperative options which can help reduce the appearance of scarring after mole removal. We can apply healing patches or topical retinoids to encourage healing and collagen growth. After six months or so, you can return to your facial plastic surgeon to discuss laser scar removal if the tiny remaining scar still bothers you.

Always remember to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon for best practices and best results.

All mole removal surgery leaves scars.

From your question it sounds like the reason you want to have your beauty mark or mole removed is for cosmetic reasons, not due to any health risks like melanoma.

While I can't offer you specific medical advice without a direct consultation, the scars from surgery to remove a mole generally heal to the point where they’re practically invisible. And any minor scarring from the procedure will be much less visible than the original mole or birthmark.

In the unlikely event your procedure results in visible scars, there are laser and scar treatments which can reduce the visibility of the scar at a later date.

Mole removal surgery is a fast and simple cosmetic surgery. The risk of unsightly scarring is extremely unlikely and the recovery times are very brief. If your mole is bothering you I encourage you to meet with a dermatologist to discuss removal options.

Unfortunately there is no magical, scarless removal. Any removal that involves cutting will leave some type of scar. Shaving the mole will leave it flat, but the pigment will most likely still be there. If the mole is excised you will have a straight line scar. If you're willing to accept an incision line instead of the mole, then you might be a good candidate for removal.

-Lauren, Patient Coordinator

All incisions leave scars but in general the face heals remarkably well and the scar would likely be almost invisible, but keep in mind you'll be trading the mole for a small scar. Good Luck!