What are moles ?
Moles are smooth skin growths that may be flat or elevated and red-, brown-, or skin-colored. They may be present at birth or early childhood (congenital moles) or may develop in early adulthood (acquired moles).
What treatments are considered medically necessary vs. cosmetic ?
Moles must be carefully evaluated by a qualified physician to ascertain any concern for melanoma. Worrisome moles must be biopsied to rule out melanoma. These biopsies are considered medically necessary and are thus covered by medical insurance. Removal of large, disfiguring congenital moles, or of any mole that becomes irritated due to repeated friction or trauma (beard area, scalp, bra-line) is also ofte n covered by medical insurance. However, cosmetic removal of moles is not covered by insurance.
How are moles removed ?
Elevated moles can be removed surgically, either by excising the mole or by shaving it flush with the plane of the surrounding skin. They can also be ablated (evaporated) using a carbon dioxide or erbium YAG laser if there is no concern for melanoma. Flat brown moles can also be excised or treated with a number of lasers to decrease or remove the brown pigmentation of the mole. This last method generally requires more than one treatment.