Mole removal

Can you remove a mole without surgery?

Moles can be removed without surgery. This can be a quick, relatively painless and low-scarring way of removing moles. Non-surgical techniques include IPL, laser, cryotherapy and electrocautery (burning). These aren't suitable for all moles. Any mole that resembles a melanoma must be surgically removed.

Removing a mole using non-surgical techniques is possible and in many cases the best treatment to have moles removed without scarring.

Note that Medicare and private health insurance covering mole removal is rare. In certain circumstances Medicare will contribute to the cost of laser removal of large skin lesions on the face or cryotherapy removal of some skin cancers or solar keratoses. Most non-surgical treatments must be completely paid for by the patient.

Non-surgical treatments include:

  • Laser and IPL: Best for removing flat pigmented skin lesions such as freckles and age spots or lesions composed of blood vessels such as angiomas or telangiectasia. This method usually causes no scarring and the skin might not even be broken during treatment.
  • Cryotherapy: Many different types of skin lesions can be removed by freezing them with liquid nitrogen. Suitable skin lesions include solar keratoses, seborrhoeic keratoses, skin tags, and even certain types of superficial skin cancer. Some skin lesions may require more than one treatment and there is a risk of blistering or scarring after treatment.
  • Electrocautery: This treatment involves burning off skin lesions (usually raised) using an electric current. It's suitable for overgrown solar keratoses, seborrhoeic keratoses, angiomas, skin tags and some raised moles. This treatment can be painful and it usually requires a local anaesthetic injection. As with any other burn, there is a risk of scarring.

Beware of advertisements for topical creams claiming to remove moles. There's no evidence that such creams are effective and/or safe. Any cream powerful enough to remove a mole could potentially cause burning and ulceration of the skin in the area, resulting in pain and possible scarring.

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