13 08 mole removalDescription: Most moles are harmless and don't need to be removed, but some forms of skin cancer can begin by appearing to be a mole. If you have a mole that has changed in size, colour or shape, see your doctor immediately.

How it's done: Two types of mole removal exist: shave excision and excisional surgery. Shave excision uses a small blade to shave off the mole as close to your skin as possible. Excisional surgery is usually performed if the mole is deeper and may recur or is recurrent. The mole is cut out completely and the area is stitched together. Your dermatologist or plastic surgeon usually performs both procedures. If there is a concern about malignancy, consult your family physician, and he/she will refer you to a specialist if necessary.

Complications: Moles may leave a scar, depression or may regrow. Pigment will often return if shave technique was used.

Recovery: Scabs after shave excision will heal within one to two weeks. Excisional surgery leaves a straight-line scar.

Cost: Shave excision: $150 to $350; excisional surgery is covered by provincial health care if it's necessary. Excision by plastic surgeon: $500 to $800.