Val, female, 39, Massachusetts
- Overall Rating
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I go to a dermatologist annually for a check-up on my moles and she was concerned about one on my back that had changed color. She recommended that I get it removed.
Before the procedure I received a one-pager on what to expect during and after the procedure. I walked into my dermatologist’s office and was asked to go across the hall to the cosmetic and “minor surgery” area (where people go to get Botox, I learned!). There was a ton of literature about cosmetic surgery, Botox, etc., and the office was very cheerful and definitely more upscale than the office I typically visited. I waited for no more than a few minutes and a very friendly nurse came to get me for the procedure, explaining everything that would happen.
The doctor arrived; she was great, very chatty and friendly. Both the nurse and doctor distracted me throughout the procedure (the worst part of which was getting the shots in my back to numb the area around the mole). They explained what they were doing and what they were finding throughout the 20-minute excision. The doctor then sutured the wound and told me how to clean and care for the area until I returned in three weeks to get the stitches removed.
The area on my back started getting sore about four hours later so I started taking aspirin (which they had suggested) which helped. I took aspirin regularly for 3-4 days and, eventually, the pain subsided.
I couldn’t do any serious exercise (running, etc.) for three weeks so as not to damage the stitches; this was mildly annoying but I still managed to use the recumbent bike at the gym and I did a lot of walking.
Fortunately, they didn’t find anything after excising the mole so I was relieved. That being said, I also learned that this may often be the case so I wonder if this approach to the excision isn’t a bit “heavy handed” given the large scar on my back.
Ask your dermatologist the likelihood of actually finding skin cancer and discuss the risks and benefits for having the procedure. This information should make you feel better going in and also question whether they need to remove as wide a field as they may. Fortunately for me, this area was on my back but I’d talk further with my doctor about different approaches if it was somewhere more visible.
- posted by HealthAngle March 23, 2009
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