This is formally known as a “dysplastic nevus”. This type of growth shows irregularity in the skin pigment cells. This irregularity may be minor not requiring further treatment. However, irregular moles may also be very abnormal and precancerous. A small percentage develops into a dangerous form of cancer known as melanoma. The risk from melanoma is increased if you or one of your blood relatives have had a history of melanoma, if your skin is very light colored, or you have a history of 5 or more sunburns in your life or one or more blistering sunburns, if you have 50 or more moles on your body, a history of atypical moles in the past, and repeated sun exposure. Almost 50% of Caucasians have at least one abnormal mole. Because it is impossible to predict which ones become melanoma, in general we recommend the complete removal.
How Long Will Mohs take?
Plan on being in the office for 4 hours on the day of your Mohs procedure. The time varies from patient to patient as each layer of skin that is removed is examined in our lab. If a layer of skin tests positive for containing skin cancer cells, our Dermatologist will return to remove an additional layer. This will continue until your margins are clear and free of cancer.
• Mild Atypical Moles (aka: Dysplastic Nevus): We usually like to recheck the skin in 3 months of initial biopsy to check for clinical recurrence. We only do further treatment on these mildly atypical moles if the color returns at the biopsy site. If the color returns, then we generally advise further treatment to ensure removal of all atypical cells.
- Is it important to address mildly atypical moles urgently? No.
- Is it necessary to seek treatment for mildly atypical moles? Yes
- Within what time frame should I come in? Within 6 months. To reach our Pathology Department, please call 949-706-1469.
Moderate atypical moles: Require further minor surgery in our office under local anesthesia to remove all of the atypical cells. We resend the specimen back to the lab to ensure complete removal.
- Is it important to address moderate atypical moles urgently? No.
- Is it necessary to seek treatment for moderate atypical moles? Yes.
- Within what time frame should I come in? Within 3-6 months. To reach our Surgical Coordinator, please call 949-706-1469.
Severe atypical moles: Always require surgical removal as this type of atypical mole is very close to a melanoma and it’s impossible to predict if it will become a melanoma. Excision (removal) of these severely atypical moles are done in our office under local anesthesia.
- Is it important to address severe atypical moles urgently? Yes.
- Is it necessary to seek treatment for severe atypical moles? Yes.
- Within what time frame should I come in? Within 3 months. To reach our Surgical Coordinator, please call 949-706-1469.