Most of us have a mole or two — or even more — on our skin. They’re usually harmless, but sometimes they can be a big deal. They could be ugly. Or they might seem to be getting bigger, changing color or multiplying. Harmless or not, all moles deserve a closer look.
At Cleveland Clinic, our team of skilled healthcare providers offer complete mole care. From cosmetic and medical mole removal to cancer screening, like mole checks and mole mapping, we’re here to help you manage your skin health.
Why Choose Cleveland Clinic for Mole Care?
Most moles are harmless. But when they aren’t, our expert providers can diagnose and treat atypical moles and skin cancer. We’re skilled at identifying and caring for moles on all types of skin — using a variety of treatments.
Everyone’s skin is different. That’s why we work with you to design a treatment plan that’s just right for your skin and your lifestyle. We focus on you, and your needs, every step of the way. Meet our team.
Our experienced dermatologists (skin specialists) have treated all kinds of skin problems. We’ve seen everything from common moles and freckles to precancerous and cancerous bumps, spots and lesions. And we’re ready to treat whatever skin condition you have with skill, compassion and understanding.
Cleveland Clinic is a trusted healthcare leader. We're recognized in the U.S. and throughout the world for our expertise and care.
It can be challenging getting out the door and to an in-person appointment sometimes. That’s why we offer some appointments as virtual visits. You can meet one-on-one with your providers from home with an internet connection and smartphone, tablet or computer.
Mole Diagnosis at Cleveland Clinic
Checking for abnormal moles and finding skin cancer early starts at home. We encourage you to do regular skin self-exams, about once a month. You’ll want to look for moles that don’t seem quite right (atypical moles). They might be a weird shape or color. Or they might be really big.
If you find one, we’re here to let you know if it’s harmless or needs treatment. On your first visit, we may have you undress, if necessary, and then we’ll do a couple of things to see what’s going on with your mole and your skin.
Your provider will look at the mole that’s been worrying you. They’ll ask you when your mole appeared and how it’s changed. They might also use a special instrument called a dermatoscope to take a closer, magnified look at your mole.
If you have a lot of moles (more than 50) or are at risk for melanoma (a serious type of skin cancer), your provider may recommend mole mapping. Mole mapping helps us keep track of all your moles over time and watch for changes in size, shape and color and see if new moles appear. At your visit, we’ll take detailed pictures of all your moles. Then, every six to 12 months, we may do individual photos of certain moles to keep an eye on them.
If we see a suspicious mole, we’ll do a skin biopsy to remove and test it. During a biopsy, your provider will take off your mole using a razor blade, punch tool or scalpel. They also remove some of your skin around and under your mole. If your mole’s very large or deep, you may need stitches to close the opening.
A pathologist (tissue and cell specialist) will then look at the sample under a microscope to check for signs of cancer or other skin diseases. If the mole is cancerous, we’ll guide you through the next phase of testing and treatment.
Providers Who Treat Moles
LocationsWe offer treatment for moles at many locations throughout Northeast Ohio and Florida.
Mole Treatment at Cleveland Clinic
While it might be tempting, we don’t recommend using at-home treatments or removing a mole on your own. It can get infected or leave a bad scar. And some moles could be skin cancer, so you could risk leaving behind cancerous cells that could enter your bloodstream and spread.
At Cleveland Clinic, we offer safe mole removal. If your mole is large, or you need many moles removed, we may work with a plastic surgeon to create a treatment plan that minimizes scarring.
If you have a biopsy and it’s positive for skin cancer, we might go back and surgically remove more skin and tissue in the area where the mole was. We’ll do this using a scalpel to be sure we remove all of the cancer cells. You might need stitches if the mole was deep. Bleeding is normal, but sometimes we can burn (cauterize) the area to stop bleeding before stitching it back together. This can also help reduce scarring. It depends on the type and size of the mole removed.
Depending on the kind of cancerous mole you had, you might need further treatment. Your provider will talk with you about next steps. We’ll work with you to develop a care plan tailored to your health and your lifestyle.
Even if your dermatologist doesn’t think a mole looks suspicious, you may still want it removed for cosmetic reasons. We might do this surgically. Or we might do a shave excision and use a razor to shave the mole off your skin. You can have this procedure done in your provider’s office and go home the same day.
Taking the Next Step
Most moles are harmless. But you need to pay attention to your moles, particularly if you have fair skin, spend time in the sun, have more than 50 moles or have a family history of skin cancer. Monthly self-exams can help you keep tabs on new or changing moles that might need to be checked out. And if you do notice anything abnormal, don’t wait. We’re here to quickly give you the answers you need.
Getting a mole evaluation with Cleveland Clinic’s experts is easy. We’re here to help you get the care you need.
Billing & Insurance
Manage your Cleveland Clinic account. Find billing information and financial assistance, plus FAQs.
Securely access your personal health information at any time, day or night.