Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Request for Information

Today was an interesting day with regard to one's skin.  My wife had an appointment with the dermatologist this afternoon.  I've been off work all week having a staycation and watching my kids between grades (they're in year-round school and get only one week between grades).  We all offered to take my wife to the appointment as an opportunity to get out of the house and hit Starbucks afterwards for some iced frappacinos! 

When we arrived at the doctor's office, the kids broke out their iPods, thus becoming the iZombies I've grown to accept.  My wife picked up a copy of "Carolina Woman" magazine and pointed out a really good article on sunscreen (I may share some of that on my Facebook page).  Earlier in the week, I was contacted by UV Skinz to give them a call and talk about my blog a bit.  After my wife was called into her appointment, I figured what better opportunity to discuss melanoma awareness than on the phone from a dermatologist's waiting room!  I placed the call, which lasted about 30 minutes.  I'll share more on this conversation in a later blog, but I will say that many folks listened in with great interest.

At the end of the call, my wife came out from her appointment.  She had scheduled her apointment to address her rosacea, and also to follow up a previous biopsy on her back of a dyplastic nevi.  The mole was shaved and sent to pathology about 3 or 4 months ago with negative results, and was a little tender still to the touch.  What she discovered was that the nevi was growing back.

It's located on her left shoulder blade and her dermatologist has recommended that a plastic surgeon cut it out and send off.  It wouldn't be a mild shaving, but a true cutting out..."with stitches" as my wife whispered.

My initial reaction was to encourage her to arrange an appointment right away.  But I could see that she's scared.  The fear is not so much for any potential towards skin cancer, but mostly for the surgery itself.  She has a lot of questions and does not like the prospect of being cut into to a point of requiring stitches.  She's a daycare teacher and she's worried that her ability to lift will be hampered.  And she's worried about the pain.

As she goes off to work tomorrow, I told her that I could call the plastic surgeon's office and ask some questions.  I've encouraged her to do the same...but I think her fear is blocking her from potentially making such calls.  I asked her if I could convey her situation in my blog and Facebook page...perhaps ask others to share their similar stories.

So here I am.  My wife Kim (Kim, meet the BITNP readers...readers, meet Kim) is wondering about the following.
  • Does such an extraction of a dysplastic nevi hurt?  Do they numb it?  Are you awake during the procedure?
  • What is the recovery like?  Do you have to stay off work for a while, and for how long?
  • What kind of stitches are used?  Does it hurt to get them out?
  • Are there any complications involved?
  • Should she have the procedure done?  (I know the answer to that...but I'm asking anyhow).
If you'd like to answer here, that's fine.  You may also answer on my Facebook page...or sent a reply to my email address at

I thank you...and Kim thanks you as well.


  1. I hope this is sort of helpful.

    I have had many moles removed since being diagnosed with stage 3 Melanoma - though none that have been referred to as Nevi?

    Anyway, they've always removed my moles with a numbing anesthetic and stitches. The stitches are sore for a few days and she probably will not be able to lift. My husband actually had some moles removed (because I'm paranoid) and he lifted, forgetting they were in, and ripped them out. :/

    I hope that her procedure is easy, fairly painless and she gets news that it isn't anything worse than expected.

    Have a good day.

  2. I am 31 and went in to my friend's derm appt with her. At the end of my appt, I quickly asked the doctor to look at a "freckle" on my chest. He said, "I will see you in 10 min".
    I went back in the room and he said that it looked like a melanoma. He immediately did a punch biopsy and i got a few stitches. I was so nervous yet grateful that I happened to be with my friend at HER appt otherwise I would have never had it checked. The results came back... "severe dysplasia". They they made an appt to cut it out with regular margins. The dermosurgeon cut me open took out some skin and stitched it up, no pain. I don't care about scars either because of ankle surgeries that I have had in the past. I made a follow up appt and left. I got a call 2 weeks later from the doctor. He said that I needed to come in the next day (keep in mind that this is in Boston and I live in the suburbs so it's a 45 min drive plus traffic).

    My mom went in the room with me. He said that he and some of the top dermopathologists, dermatologists in Boston including the board of directors of dermotology within three hospitals had a meeting where they observed and discussed the biopsy on the slide. He claimed that my slide was so rare and that although it looked like a melanoma, they couldn't agree if it was one or not. They hadn't seen one like this before. So he said that I needed to be scheduled to have a plastic surgeon remove it. The scar I already had from the last surgery developed into a keloid scar as well so you couldn't tell if the mole/freckle could be growing back. The plastic surgeon told me that they would be taking out a good portion of skin from my breast. almost like removing a breast cancer tumor.

    So there you have it. My surgery is next week and they use local anesthetic (at least they did for my last removal). Didn't hurt at all. For me it was just the embarrassment of having my chest exposed. I will have about a 3 to 4 inch scar from the middle of my chest to my nipple. But he is a harvard professor of plastic surgery so he cant be that bad... :(