Nothing is more disconcerting than getting out of the shower and suddenly noticing one of your moles. Is that the way it always looked? Has it changed? It has changed! How long has it been this way? All the times you skipped the sunscreen or went to the tanning booths run through your head, and you quickly make the next appointment at the dermatologist.
If you and your doctor decide there has indeed been a change, such as an irregular border, color change, or elevated growth, you will likely be scheduled for a biopsy. Depending on the size of your mole, this may remove it in its entirety, or the biopsy may only remove a small part of it. Here's what to expect after you have had your mole removed.
Naturally, the area will be a little bit sore, similar to a bruised feeling. Many people report that the fiery, burning sensation from the needle full of local anesthesia used to numb the area before the procedure is worse than any residual pain from the actual procedure.
If you have properly cared for the biopsy site according to your physician's specifications and kept it clean, an infection is unlikely. However, the skin does harbor a lot of bacteria. If your pain is more severe than just feeling bruised, feels hot to the touch, or if it is noticeably red or has red streaks, you may have an infection. There may also be pus around and in the wound. Contact your doctor immediately if you notice any of these signs. It may just need some antibiotic ointment, but it could also be something more serious, like a staph infection or even septicemia, which is when the bacteria spreads to the blood stream and can be deadly.
How large a scar you will have depends on how large an area had to be removed. If sutures are used, the scar will be less noticeable than if it is just left open. For most people, the residual scar won't be a concern, but if the mole was removed from your face, you may want to discuss with your doctor a prescription topical scar cream. These are commonly prescribed for people who have suffered from severe acne.
While the wound may be small, there will likely be irritation as it heals. There may be additional irritation if it is located where your clothing rubs it, such as a bra strap on your back.