Total body photography (also known as “mole mapping”) is an additional surveillance tool to assist with monitoring moles and skin lesions in order to help detect skin cancers, including melanoma. A baseline set of high-resolution photographs are taken of the skin to document existing moles throughout your body. These photographs can be used at future visits with your dermatologist to help monitor for new or changing moles. Follow up photos taken on the FotoFinder system can be compared to analyze deviations in size, color, border, and shape.
According to the Melanoma Research Foundation, every eight minutes someone in the United States will be diagnosed with melanoma and every hour someone will die from the disease. Malignant melanoma is a skin cancer that develops in melanocytes, the cells that produce melanin or pigment for the skin, hair, and eyes. Only 20 to 30 percent of melanomas are found in existing moles, while 70 to 80 percent arise on apparently normal skin. Total body photography is one tool to help monitor a patient’s risk of developing melanoma. Early detection of melanoma is very important as it has a cure rate of over 95% when found in its early stages.
Total body photography can be performed on North Metro Dermatology patients who want to undergo comprehensive screening for abnormal moles and melanoma. It is especially recommended for patients who have:
One of our female medical professionals will operate our FotoFinder to take your photographs. A second female member from our medical staff may be present as a chaperone. You are welcome to have a relative or friend present during the appointment. If the patient is younger than 18 years, a parent or legal guardian must be present at the appointment.
A typical session includes a series of 16-20 photographs of various zones of your body. You may undress to your level of comfort. If advised by your dermatologist, photography may include breasts, buttocks, and/or genitals (unless you decline photography of these areas). Prior to your session, you will be asked to sign an informed consent form. The entire visit takes about 30 minutes.
Your photographs are stored on our local secure server. They are not stored in an off-site location (i.e. “the cloud”). Photographs are never shared or viewed by anyone except your dermatologist. Your dermatologist will review your photographs and discuss them with you during your full-body skin exam. You will also receive an encrypted digital copy of your photographs.
Digital mole mapping is not covered by commercial insurance at this time but may be eligible for coverage by some flexible benefit programs. North Metro Dermatology offers this service for $225 per session. Payment is due at the time of your appointment.
Your dermatologist will determine if you are a good candidate for digital mole mapping at your full-body skin exam. Your dermatologist will also help determine when digital mole mapping should be repeated (typically every two years). Repeat mole mapping sessions should be scheduled at least two weeks before your full-body skin exam.
For questions, contact North Metro Dermatology at (651) 789-9800. We also have information on how to schedule an appointment online here.
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