Radiofrequency mole and skin lesion removal is safe and has a low rate of complications. Even without special aftercare, most people are satisfied with the cosmetic result.
You can further reduce the risk of scarring and speed the wound healing by following these principles.
- Prevent the wound from drying out and forming a thick scab
- Reduce the risk of infection
- Encourage growth of healthy scar tissue
- Prevent the scar tissue from becoming elevated
It is very unusual for there to be significant pain following this procedure.
If you need to take pain relief, avoid aspirin and non-steroidal inflammatory drugs such as naproxen, ibuprofen and diclofenac. These can cause bleeding.
If pain relief is required, we recommend paracetamol or paracetamol/codeine.
The full wound healing process takes many months.
Initially, there is usually a slightly indented area with a pale tan base. Bleeding is not common but you may notice a small amount of blood on the dressing over the next 1-2 days.
As the wound heals, there may be yellowish material on its base, or a clear straw-coloured fluid "weeping" from the wound. This is called exudate and it does not mean that the wound is infected; it is often a part of the normal wound healing process. Sometimes the exudate makes the wound and dressing wet. If this happens, you can gently clean the wound with water only, gently pat dry with a clean towel, and replace the dressing with a Band-Aid. If it's more than three days after your procedure, there's no need to replace the Band-Aid, but you should apply silicone gel twice daily.
Your wound will be dressed with either:
- Kaltostat (an alginate dressing—made from seaweed—which absorbs blood and draws exudate away from the wound base) covered by a plastic film,
- A non-adherent ball or cotton gauze covered by plastic film, or
- A spray-on film (if your wound is an area where it's not practical to stick on a dressing)
Leave the dressing in place for 3 days and keep the wound as dry as possible. After 3 days, remove the dressing. If the dressing sticks to the wound, you can gently soak it with water.
After removing the dressing, you can apply a Band-Aid if you find the wound unsightly, but this is optional.
If you have a spray-on dressing, it will gradually come away by itself as you wash the wound normally over the next few days.
After your dressing is removed, be careful to avoid direct sun exposure on the healing wound and scar.
We recommend that you use a silicone gel (see below) over the wound. Once the gel is dry, you can cover it with sunscreen. You should always use sunscreen daily if the ultraviolet index is above 3, but for three months after your mole is removed, even if the UV index is less than 3.
After removing the dressing, apply a silicone gel to the wound up to three times per day.
We recommend that you use a medicated gel such as Epicyn, which contains hypochlorous acid, although plain silicone gel also has beneficial effects.
Silicone gel assists wound healing by sealing the wound and preventing it from drying out and developing a thick, crusted scab. Hypochlorous acid has antibacterial properties and can help prevent infection if applied directly to the wound, even when it is still open. It also stimulates the activity of fibroblasts and keratinocytes, helping the wound to heal faster. Studies have shown that wounds treated with hypochlorous acid have less infection, exudate, pain and itching and less risk of keloid scarring.
For best results, apply silicone gel to the wound 2 or 3 times daily for 3 months.
Low level light therapy
To further boost wound healing, you may wish to add a course of low level light therapy.
This treatment enhances wound healing and reduces bruising, swelling, and pain following the procedure. The normal redness that lasts several months after the procedure as part of the wound healing process can be reduced from months to weeks using this treatment.
The recommended treatment course is:
- 1-2 days before the procedure
- Immediately following the procedure (usually provided by Spot Check Clinic as a single complimentary treatment)
- 2-3 days after the procedure
- 2-3 days later
Note that there is an extra fee for a full course of low level light treatment.
Regrowth of the skin lesion
The most common problem following cosmetic removal of a raised mole or skin lesion is re-growth of the mole. This sometimes happens if mole cells are left behind at the time of treatment — usually the result of the doctor attempting to remove the minimum possible amount of tissue. If this happens with any radiofrequency mole removal procedure performed at Spot Check Clinic, we are happy to re-treat the re-grown mole at no out of pocket expense to you.
Sometimes, despite all efforts, a raised scar develops at the site of the skin lesion removal. This occurs in approximately 5 per cent of radiofrequency skin lesion removals performed at Spot Check Clinic.
Raised and discoloured scarring is more common in people with darker skin, including people of Asian descent.
If this happens, further treatment is available to reduce the scar, including:
- steroid injection into the scar
- broadband light
Raised scars are best treated as early as possible. We strongly recomend a follow-up visit 4 weeks after your mole removal procedure to check for and treat any early signs of overgrwon scar development.
If you develop a raised scar as a result of radiotherapy skin lesion removal at Spot Check Clinic, we will treat the scar at no out-of-pocket expense.