Dr Beulink’s Personal Comments – Erbium Laser Mole Removal
I have been performing nonsurgical mole removal since 1992.
From 1992-1998 I used the Surgitron radiofrequency device, which isn't too bad if used cautiously and dilligently. It certainly had big advantages over surgery, cauterisation (heat/burn removal) and liquid nitrogen (freezing removal), but still had it's limitations. This is because the Surgitron vapourises skin cells but still does it with the addition of moderate heat. It is this heat that causes unwanted "collateral damage" and the destruction of the skin's natural pigment cells (melanocytes).This means scarring may be minimised but is still present, and often leaves at best, white marks or worse, raised scarring.
In 1998 I began Erbium laser resurfacing and quickly realised the huge advantages and benefits this laser system had for removing moles. It's precision, absolute control, and lack of heat damage made it a quantum leap forwards in skin and mole ablation and I have been exclusively removing moles with the Erbium laser ever since.
This procedure is unbelievably simple. People are constantly telling me how impressed they are with the treatment; the ease with which the mole is removed, the negligible pain or discomfort, and the rapid removal of the mole. I would not be able to count the number of times someone has looked into the mirror immediately after the laser removal and exclaimed "Oh my God, it's gone!
Immediately before the mole is removed, a very small amount of local anaesthetic is injected around or under the mole. This is done with a very fine needle (smaller than a babies vaccination needle) and although local anaesthetic stings before it goes numb, any discomfort from this is fleeting and relatively minor. Applying ice to the area first can virtually make this painless. The local anaesthetic will instantly numb the mole and the lasering then proceeds with absolutely no pain or discomfort what so ever.
This treatment is particularly suited to the removal of benign (cosmetic) type moles. It can be used for certain cancerous and pre-cancerous "moles" and skin lesions. It can not be used for the removal of malignant melanomas.
The ideal benign mole for laser mole removal is a raised, skin coloured mole with no hairs growing from it. Darkly pigmented, flat moles that have hair are the least ideal. This is because they tend to have deeper roots. These types of moles can still be lasered, often with a high degree of success and patient satisfaction. However, there is a higher chance of partial or full recurrence that may need a second lasering at a later date. This is especially apparent in younger patients. For hairy moles, it is best to allow the hairs to grow a bit before laser removal (do not pluck them). This helps at the time of lasering to track down the roots.
This is a fantastic way to remove facial moles due to the excellent cosmetic result. I believe laser should be the only way to remove moles that are in surgically difficult areas, such as close to the eyes or lips etc. In areas such as these, surgical cutting and subsequent scar formation can have poor cosmetic outcomes due to the pulling and distortional effects the tissue removal and scar will have on these important structures. With the laser, over the years I have removed many moles and skin tags from the upper and lower eye lids (including the lash line), from noses and from edges of the lip. No distortion will occur with the laser as only the mole is removed, with no surrounding or underlying tissue damage, and scar formation is absolutely minimised or nonexistent. The high precision of the laser mole removal allows me to remove moles with pinpoint accuracy, often in places where no one else will dare to go.
Facial mole removals heal twice as fast as body moles (facial wounds always heal faster than body wounds). The end result for laser body moles is thus never quite as good as that for the face.
Due to the ease and speed of removal, it can be an effective way to remove many moles at the one time.
After care is relatively straight forwards. We give the patient some ointment to apply on a daily basis to the lasered mole and usually a sticky plaster is applied for the first day and then just at night for several days. For facial moles, it will take approximately 5-7 days to heal up. For body moles it takes a little longer at 10-16 days. Healing is very similar to that of a graze: at first it is a bit raw and remains a bit damp, then after about a week it is healed over but looks a bit pink, and then over the following months the pinkness fades away. Makeup can be usually be applied over the lasered mole area after about a week. It is important not to get the lasered mole area sunburnt for the first 3 months after removing.
Please note: This treatment is only available at our Auckland clinic.
For more information on the Erbium laser, see Erbium Laser Resurfacing for wrinkles