When Dr. Steele identifies a mole that is suspicious for skin cancer (melanoma) or appears to be at least atypical, she will biopsy the lesion. A biopsy consists of taking a portion of the lesion (or all of the lesion that is visible to the eye) to send to the lab/pathologist for further evaluation and diagnosis. The type and size of the biopsy depends on the type of lesion and what the pathologist requires for diagnosis. Dr. Steele may also do biopsies to diagnose a rash or gather more information in diagnosing hair loss/alopecia.Biopsies begin with identifying and cleaning the area, as well as taking a photo for documentation, and then numbing the spot with local anesthetic. Once numbed, a sample of the skin is removed, taking as minimal tissue possible to reduce potential for scarring; although diagnosis is the priority, so a sufficient amount of tissue is taken to ensure that the procedure is useful.Biopsy sites are bandaged and detailed wound care instructions are given to the patient so that you know what to expect and how to best take care of your wound. Results are delivered as soon as they are received then a plan of action is discussed based on the biopsy results.
Cosmetic Mole Removal
Sometimes moles are not concerning as far as atypia or skin cancer goes, but just does not look good. This is subjective, and only you can determine how you feel about a mole’s appearance. Some feel that their visible moles are their beauty marks or one of their signatures, which is great. Dr. Steele will evaluate such lesions to make sure that they are appear benign and then follow up with routine skin checks. For others, some moles can be undesirable because of their location, i.e. getting snagged or caught on clothing, combs, brushes, etc., or draw attention on the face or other visible body part. Dr. Steele is sensitive to the way you may feel about certain moles and can help guide you in the decision whether to remove it or not and the best way to do so.A cosmetic mole removal consists of cleaning and numbing the area with a small numbing shot that may sting briefly. Once the area is numbed adequately, the mole is gently removed with small blade such that the spot is flat with the rest of the surrounding skin. Dr. Steele then blends the edges of the area where the mole formally existed. The scrape-like wound is covered with a minimal dressing and you are given detailed instructions on how to care for the wound to make sure it heals as beautifully as possible.All moles are sent to the lab for evaluation. Since skin health is always Dr. Steele’s ultimate priority, we always have a mole checked at the lab to ensure that it was benign. It gives both Dr. Steele and the patient peace of mind to know that there were no atypical or cancerous cells in the lesion. Dr. Steele always sees patients in follow up to ensure that the area is healing well. In cosmetic mole removals, the goal is to improve the appearance so Dr. Steele makes sure that that is the end result is cosmetically elegant.
PN (Dermatosis Nigra Papulosa) Removal
DPNs are small brown moles that usually appear on the face, neck, and chest of African American, Asian or Latino patients. They usually start in one’s 20s or 30s and continue to grow more numerous with time. The biggest reason that they occur is genetics, with most patients noting that their relatives have the same “moles”. They are harmless, but can absolutely be removed safely, painlessly, and completely. Although it is possible to remove a few at a time, Dr. Steele always recommends getting all of the lesions removed at once to get the best results. On the day of the procedure, a numbing cream will be applied to the face (or other area to be treated). Once allowed to take effect, Dr. Steele will remove the small lesions, either with scissors (small excisions) or an electrocautery device that burns the lesions. The method of removal depends on the individual lesions (if they have a stalk at the base and hang at all), if they are flat and broad or flat and small. Dr. Steele chooses the method that will be least traumatic to the skin. Healing will take about a week altogether, however, most people feel comfortable going to work and doing routine errands and activities during the healing process.Dr. Steele always sees patients back for a follow up to make sure there are no remaining lesions that require treatment and also, that the skin is healing well and with no signs of the previous lesions or the procedure!