Mole mapping is a way for dermatologists to compare a person’s moles over time. This is critical to patients who have had skin cancer or have a high risk of getting it. This is because the earlier abnormal moles can be found, the better chance a person has of surviving melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
At our office, we use the latest technology, a sophisticated system from Canfield Scientific, Inc., that involves a combination of digital photography with a computer software program to document every inch of a patient’s skin.
The Canfield system is a digital camera and small studio lights mounted to a metal frame. The camera and lights can be raised and lowered on this frame to specific heights. Photos are taken of a patient in 36 poses so that the entire body is pictured. The purpose of the frame and the standardized poses is to match as exactly as possible from one mole mapping photo session to the next to make comparison as easy as possible.
What to expect
If your medical provider determines that you are a good candidate for mole mapping, you’ll be scheduled for a photo session appointment. It’s up to you if you want to undress completely for the photos or leave your undergarments on. You should not cover up any areas that have moles. During the photo session our medical assistant will pose you so we get 36 images of you, head to toe. If you request a copy of your photos during your photo session, we’ll provide you a CD copy of them at your follow-up visit to take home with you. These could be valuable for self-examinations between office visits.
At your follow-up appointment, you and your medical provider with the help of an assistant will review the photos on large high-definition computer monitors and compare them to any previous photos taken. If any new or changing moles of concern are noted a biopsy of the lesion can be performed.
We will attempt to pre-authorize your mole mapping with your insurance company prior to your visit. Generally, patients with a history of melanoma are covered.
If you have had skin cancer or at high risk of getting it, and would like to schedule a mole mapping appointment, call us at (509) 735-1100.