Archived Q&A and Reviews
Our 17 year old teen hates their 4-5 moles on their face. We parents don't think any of the moles take away from our teen's good looks. But our teen is begging us to consider plastic surgery to remove them. We have been to a dermatologist and the doctor explained the possibility of scarring if he did the surgery. Hence, the idea of plastic surgery. But honestly we would rather have our teen deal with it and come to accept their imperfections. And we parents feel even if the moles were removed, another imperfection would fill the void.Comments? Anon
My family is heavy on moles. I was so envious of my cousin who got to get hers removed in high school. I waited until after college and then started paying for it myself. It wasn't covered by insurance at that point but I was willing to pay out of pocket. I can't say it would have made a difference in my life to have it done earlier or not. But I can say that I am a professional working with teens, and that lots of research shows that letting them dress well and look their best, while it may seem vain to us, increases their self-confidence and their relationships with peers and that leads to future success. That said, there isn't much harm in getting the moles removed. Maybe the ones your teen has are exceptionally large - certainly options of plastic surgery were never considered for myself or my cousins. Maybe get a second opinion on that? Good luck! mole-bound
Two cents worth of advice about removing moles through plastic surgery: since you, the parents, don't see the need, and it is your money in question, then don't do it. If your daughter really wants it, allow her the choice to earn the money and fund the plastic surgery. This is not an urgent matter: your daughter can do it when she can afford it. Really Simple
Yes, absolutely. Do it. Remove that distraction. Even though inner beauty is what matters to you, and what matters in the long run (and she has heard that from you), you also want to support her while she swims in the judgmental and superficial sea of high school. I only wish all teens' problems were so limited and concrete.
Maybe she'll gain in confidence and it will change her life! But if she learns that the absence of moles doesn't make her more popular or improve her life, that will be a valuable lesson too. Just sayin'
My cousin recently died of melanoma at the age of 30. I am 31. So I'm having all of my moles examined (3 were recently biopsied and came back benign). There is one mole left to be biopsied and it's located on my lower lip. Since it's in a very visible spot, I'm concerned about scarring. I have scheduled an appointment with a dermatologist but am wondering if I would be better off having it done by a plastic surgeon. Do plastic surgeons leave less of a scar? Also, I am looking for recommendations for either dermatologist or plastic surgeon. I am very anxious and scared (given my cousin's tragic experience) so good bedside manner is a must. Thank you. anon
My father-in-law is a plastic surgeon (out of state) and I know he does removes moles. I would go to a plastic surgeon. They have years of specialize training on doing procedures with minimal scarring. Lisa
I imagine a dermatologist who also has cosmetic/plastic surgery experience would be more skillful in preventing major scarring from removing a mole on your lip. Dr. Tomi Wall saw my toddler for his eczema. I appreciated her kindness and patience during the exams. Check out her reviews on Yelp: http://www.yelp.com/biz/tomi-wall-m-d-oakland. She's in a practice that focuses more on cosmetic procedures and plastic surgery, but for general dermatology, she was wonderful. Jean
If you're having work done on your face, I'd definitely go with a plastic surgeon. My mother had a small thing removed from her nose and she had it done by a dermatologist. Now, there's a divet in her nose. I think a plastic surgeon, especially one who specializes in cosmetics, would be a better choice. In fact, I'd recommend Dr. Robert Aycock in Walnut Creek. He's precise and thorough, provides great service and stands behind his work. Deena
My teen daughter has a few small facial moles. I've received conflicting advice about the level of expertise required to remove them because they are on her chin and cheek and any scarring would be obvious. Any suggestions as to who might be best (east bay / south bay locale)? Any idea as to cost to budget (since it's cosmetic)? Appreciate any feedback here. Lynne
I think you are smart to be considering this so carefully. I had a mole just under my nose that I had removed after I got out of college. The scar is prominent to this day and does bother me. I had a dermatologist do it in his office, and the dermatologist was a good, thorough doctor. But I think what you want is someone who is more attuned to the cosmetic issues at hand. --wish I'd been more careful
I recommend Michael Cedars, M. D. (Plastic Surgeon) of Oakland. Robert
I have a mole I'd like to remove above my eyebrow, and would like suggestions from women who have had moles removed, about where they did this, how much it cost, was it painful, and did it leave a scar. Thank you so much! Sarah
Re mole removal. I had a mole removed that was near my eyebrow, about a year ago. I had it done at my dermatologist's office. It was not covered by insurance, so I paid out of pocket, I can't remember the price now $150 or so? The painful part was when they put in the numbing medicine, the actual procedure was not painful. After it had healed a bit, it was apparent that some of the raised mole was still left, and I went back. He told me that it was better to take off too little than too much the first time, (which he had not mentioned initially), so that there would not be a dent in my skin. He took off the final bit and charged me for $35 for just the equipment that he needed to use. ''There never was an obvious scar; right after the procedure I just kept it moist with aquaphor, or some such ointment, a bandaid would not fit there. Over the year the scar has faded, and it never was really apparent. But people certainly noticed that the mole was gone! (of course, I never realized how apparent it was!) Now I see a tiny brown dot in the middle of the scar, so maybe it's growing back? So far, it is not a problem, but we'll see, I would definitely do this mole removal again if necessary. I feel a little more beautiful!
My six year old has a mole right in the middle of his cheek. We have a wonderful pediatric dermatologist (Renee Howard) who recommended removing it, not because it posses any health risk but because it is very noticeable and once school age kids enter first/second grade they usually want this sort of thing gone. I'm not sure if we should have our pediatric dermatologist remove it or a plastic surgeon since it is in a very prominent location. Our pediatrician could not recommend a pediatric plastic surgeon since they mostly deal with larger reconstructive issues. Has anyone had a similar experience or suggestions? Thanks Bridget
Hold out for a plastic surgeon. My spouse is in pediatrics, and that's what he always advises for the face. I also had my derm do a leg mole removal recently, and was not happy with the scar. My spouse said, ''well, if you were concerned about the scar, you should have gone to a plastic surgeon.'' (Now he tells me...) You could call Children's Hospital in Oakland for a referral
I posed your question to a close friend who is a plastic surgeon. Her name is Dr. Victoria Pao, she practices in the East Bay, and here is her reply:
Overall, if you ask a plastic surgeon who would be better at mole removal, a plastic surgeon will always vote on their own specialty. (More surgical experience, anesthesia experience, etc.)
It's tricky with kids b/c there's no ''right'' time to operate, but in general, it does spare the child teasing when an obviously deforming trait (a large mole in a conspicuous area) is removed early. Unfortunately, the trade off is a scar. And children are not usually the most compliant with scar management or surgery.
Anesthesia is recommended - usually a hospital setting.
I'd be happy to evaluate (mom should check to make sure I'm part of their health care plan - right now, I'm contracted with the PPOs of Aetna, Blue Cross, Blue Shield, HealthNet and Medicare - maybe more, but I can't think of them off the top of my head). She can always call my office (510)537-1577. Children's Hospital Oakland has good plastic surgeons, too. lynna
What a coincidence--almost scary. My son (now 6) was born with a birthmark on his forehead and at his last well-kid checkup, the ped asked about it. She sent us to a dermatologist, who does want to remove it, just in case. I resisted, but my friends pointed out that it really *is* better safe than sorry.
I thought the dermo was going to be the one to remove it, but Kaiser has given us a referral to a plastic surgeon! I was in favor of this from the beginning, if nothing else but for the stitches. This is something on his face; remember that his face (and the scar) will grow as he grows. So I want the best plastic surgery care possible... and I'm thinking you would, too. Feel free to contact me. Jennie
Hi there, I would like to know if there's any recommendation in regards to what kind of treatment, surgery, etc I should undergo in order to get facial imperfections, mainly moles, removed. They aren't cancerigenous, thank God. Therefore this is only for cosmetic purposes. I'm very interested in hearing about your own experience ( or someone you know), how long it takes to heals, how painful the removal is, scarring, etc. Thank you
I have had A LOT of experience with Mole Removal. I am pretty much covered in them! I have had many removed and in my experience it is a pretty easy process. If you are really concerned with scaring you may want to go to a dermatologist/plastic surgeon. I have had moles removed in different ways. Large, deep ones some times need to be removed and then stitched up, which will take alittle more time to heal and can obviously cause scaring if you are prone to scars. They always give me a shot of lidocaine (right around the mole area) which is just a little pinch/burn and then usually slice it off with a razor and either stitch it up or cauterize it. It can be alittle sensitive for the first few days and you really need to follow their care and cleaning instructions. Like anything it takes a few days/weeks to heal and you will most likely have a noticeable mark on your face while it is healing. It really is a pretty easy procedure, just make sure you trust your dermatologist AND you donUt have anywhere major to go the next few weeks after. I believe you also need to be careful with sun exposure, etc.. Hope that helps Meg
If your moles are on the face, I think most dermatologists would refer you to a plastic surgeon. I had a consultation with Dr. Elizabeth Lee about my facial moles, and appreciated how straightforward she was. Basically you're trading a mole for a scar, which may be small, but still a scar. I decided to keep the moles, for now holy moley
I have had one mole removed for cosmetic reasons. I'm glad I did it but I doubt I'll have more removed on my face (I'm rather ''moley'' or as my toddler says ''bumpy.'' ) The scar, while on the side of my face, is evident and the hair that grew out of the mole still grows in that spot. The recovery was pretty minor, I wore a bandaid for a while. I've resigned myself to a more topographically interesting face. Good luck with your decision ''Bumpy''
Do you have to remove these moles from your face? I had a mole removed from my body. The doctor said it had to be removed to see if it was cancerous. Turned out it was benign. It healed properly, in the amount of time the doctor said it would, the removal did not hurt, but I do have a scar. I regret not asking around about scarring before I had it removed. You are smart for doing this research first. I wish there had been a way to test the mole first without removing it. The scar is always there
I had a mole removed from the center of my forehead about 4 years ago. It had never bothered me but after like eight little kids made comments I thought ''you know kids never lie and if it's bothering them there are probably adults who have issues with it and just don't say anything because they are being polite.'' I had it done and two things happened. I got a bunch of very positive comments about how beautiful my eyes were and how much more noticeable they were. (Must have been pretty distracting huh?) Then people FORGOT it was ever there! They'll come over and see pictures and go ''You had a mole?'' And I'm like ''yeah for 30 yrs. Didn't we go to highschool together?'' Seriously. More than once. Anyway it cost $150. It was outpatient surgery. Took about an hour. Had to wear a little bandaid on it for about a week. I ended up wearing it for longer because there was an indentation that took about a month to fill in. Now it's completely flat and there's one speck that's lighter than the rest of my forehead. If you don't have a surgeon picked out and your interested you can e-mail me and I'll give you the name of mine. She's in the city! Good luck! shelly
I would like to have a mole removed from my face and am looking for recommendations on Dr. Elizabeth Lee and Dr. Shahin Javaheri, both in Berkeley. There were no recommendations for this procedure or Dr. Javaheri on the website, and the only posts for Dr. Lee were for different procedures. My husband recently saw Dr. Javaheri for the removal of an abscess and suggested seeing him, but I'd like more input from others. Has anyone had a mole removed from either of these doctors (or any others)? What was your experience? Many thanks.
I would recommend Dr. Howard Lee in Pinole. He is a cosmetic surgeon and removed a rather large mole from my daughter when she was six. She is now thirteen. I was very concerned and did a lot of research before choosing Dr. Lee. My daughter's mole was under her nose, on her upper lip. I was concerned about scarring. Dr. Lee did a great job. Sarah
I know both Dr. Elizabeth Lee and Dr. Shahin Javaheri well, both on a professional and personal basis. They are both personable, extremely well trained and experienced. I am a physician myself, and wouldn't hesitate to have either one of them treat me. You should be sure to check with your insurance to know who the will ''allow'' you to see. Good luck to you.
The nail salon in Montclair offers laser removal of moles for $30. They put ''solution'' on the mole, let it sit on the skin, then remove the mole with a laser. Has anyone heard of this? Any safety concerns? anon
A nail salon doing laser mole removal? As someone who had melanoma, that does not sound safe at all, for a variety of reasons. Please see a dermatologist. Ellen
Please do not have anyone other than a dermatologist remove a mole!! First, it's not always easy to tell if something is a mole, freckle or other growth. Second, if it is a mole, only a dermatologist can evaluate whether it should be removed. Even if the dermatologist decides that it doesn't need to be removed, the dermatologist will remove it for aesthetic reasons if you want. However, a good dermatologist will always send a removed mole to a lab for analysis, whether he or she thinks its problematic or not. If you have any kind of skin growths (skin tags, moles, keratoses etc.) you should be monitored by a dermatologist. It's not a big deal. Generally, one visit a year where the moles are examined visually is enough. I've had a lot of moles and skin tags removed by a dermatologist over the last 30 years (most for aesthetic reasons). Some moles can be removed simply by using a local anesthetic and cutting the mole from the skin. Others, because of the kind of mole, are removed along with surrounding skin and require a stitch or two. I've had them done both ways--no scarring with the ones that are cut, and very minimal scaring even with a few stitches. I can recommend a dermatologist in Berkeley on Milvia--Cornelia Pessoa, M.D. Very good. anon
Having laser surgery done at a ''nail salon'' doesn't sound safe to me and for only $30 . Are they qualified to do it? I have had several treatments of laser hair removal done at the Laser Center of Marin (415) 945-9314 and feel I can trust my face to them. They have an office in Pinole also (Bay Area Laser Surgery Center (510) 724-8282). Laser's can cause serious burns that can cause scaring. The power of the laser is set depending on the skin tone and pigmentation. I go all the way to Marin even though the Pinole office would be much closer only because the machine over there can deal with much darker skin. Sarah
I recommended the Laser Center of Marin earlier. Added note: my daughter had a rather large mole removed at the age of six by a brilliant Cosmetic Sugeon, Dr. Howard Lee in Pinole (510) 724-1650. I did a lot of research and he was recommended over and over again. I was worried about scaring because the mole was under her nose on her upper lip and in a very visable spot. My daughter is now 13 and has a minimal scar which will hopefully completely disappear by the time she is an adult. Sarah
From my experience, I think anything involving a true mole should be done by a dermatologist, not a salon. If it was a sun spot or some similar pigment discoloration, that wouldn't seem so scary b/c dermatologists use lasers to take off those. But whenever I have had a real mole removed, it involves a scalpel because they go beneath the skin. Maybe I am paranoid b/c I know people who have had melanoma but I do not mess around when it comes to moles. Elizabeth
Can anybody recommend a dermatologist in SF (the website listings are all for East Bay docs)? The 3 docs I'm considering (covered by my plan) are: Beverly Epstein, Marie Jhin, Lucia Tuffanelli
Thanks! Past Due for Mole Check
My OB/GYN in SF, Dr. Laurie Green, recommended that I see Dr. Beverly Epstein for dermatological treatment in a very sensitive locationn. Dr. Epstein was wonderful, made me feel more comfortable than I normally do when visiting a doctor and provided excellent care. I highly recommend her. anonymous
I believe each of those doctors are in the same office under the name of Tuffanelli. I saw Marie a couple of times and she seemed somewhat inexperienced, however, she didn't hesitate to consult with some of the ''older'' doctors in the same office to get resolution. I would use her again as her demeanor/bed side manner is good. The office itself was cramped (the exam rooms and the lobby area were very small) but everyone, including the receptionist, was very professional. Patty
I've been seeing Lucia Tuffanelli in San Francisco for about 3-4 years. I just go in for mole checks once a year because I am a redhead. I have found that she is pretty brief. I've never known if her seeming indifference is because she has never seen anything to be worried about or her schedule or her personality. She was recommended to me by my doctor -- who told me she was fantastic (it was who she used), but warned me that I would need to be prepared for her lack of ''bedside manners''. Basically, she said if I was willing to forgo the latter, I would have access to a fantastic doctor. The last time I went I was pregnant. And she sort of had a personality change. She went on and on about her children and we had a wonderful conversation. I left feeling like she wasn't as cold as I thought her to be.
I do know she was rated one of the top dermatologist in the Bay Area by San Francisco Magazine this year. And I tend to think that specialists that doctor's use are as a good a recommendation as they come.
The bottom line is I'm mixed about her, mostly because I've never had any problems. I just go for my own piece of mind about the state of my moles. So I've never seen her in action. A friend of mine used her husband (he's part of the same practice). He had a questionable mole -- but the doctor didn't want to do anything about it. When he told him his cousin died at age 26 of melanoma he removed it right then and there. I think that in the world of managed health care -- the patient plays such an important role in what kind of care you get. As long as you can be a strong advocate for yourself and make sure you get all your questions answered and are sure to provide all the information you have to the doctor, she'll probably give you great care (but probably won't be your best friend.) anon
We use Les Hilger, 460 34th St., Oakland, 652-8091 He was highly recommended to us by another physician and hasn't disappointed us. Seems knowledgable and has a good manner. It can take a while to get an appointment with him, so for an emergency we have used others in his practice. His ongoing care of my husband's many moles seems quite thorough. My husband has all sorts of growths and has to be monitored on a regular basis. Hilger and his office have been excellent at follow-ups on test results, reminders of future check-ups, etc. I have also used his partner, Dr. Paslin, when I couldn't get in to see him. I didn't like his mannerisms as well, but he was always right on with his diagnoses and treatments. I have gone to him more than once and would return if I couldn't get into Dr. Hilger Linda