What is Mole Mapping?
A Dermatologist is experienced in identifying malignant lesions and skin cancers and has had significant training and practical experience in being able to diagnose those lesions on the body which are non-malignant, those that are suspicious or pre-malignant, and those which are malignant.Mole mapping is a skin assessment of the whole body carried out by a dermatologistusing a dermatascope for clinical skin examination to diagnose pre-malignant or malignant lesions.
There are mole mapping services available in the marketplace where a nurse uses a computer operated camera to photograph and ‘analyse’ moles. Any clinical assessment will need to be conducted by an experienced Dermatologist, so while these services can be useful to have a photographic record, they should not be relied upon for accurate identification of malignant lesions.
What is involved in Mole Mapping?
The Dermatologist will undertake a risk evaluation with you discussing your medical and family history and evaluation your skin type and your historical and current levels of sun exposure.
The dermatologist will then examine your skin using a Dermatascope to check your moles. A Dermatascope is a specialised magnifying device which allows the Dermatologist to identify the microscopic features of a lesion. Moles that they want to monitor for changes in size, shape, colour or texture will be photographed using high resolution digital photography. If there are any moles that they are concerned may be malignant, they may advise that you have a skin biopsy so that the mole can be sent to a laboratory for analysis by a specialised dermatology pathologist.
Where a biopsy confirms either pre-malignant or malignant lesion, then the Dermatologist will advise on the treatment options. This may include:
– photodynamic therapy (PDT) for actinic keratosis or superficial bcc’s (basal cell carcinomas)
– skin surgery for primary or secondary excision of the malignant lesion
– cautery and curettage of the lesion
– cryotherapy of the lesion
– Moh’s surgery of the lesion
– Use of a topical topical prescription medication such as imiquimod for treatment of superficial bccs
The dermatologist will also be able to advise you on measures to protect your skin from sun exposure.
What are the risks or potential side effects of Mole Mapping?
Mole mapping is not an intrusive process and so there are no side-effects. It is important that you see a Dermatologist for assessment as a GP or nurse will not have the same level of training and experience.
Is there any preparation needed before having Mole Mapping?
The dermatologist will need to take clear images of all the moles on your body to build an accurate analysis. You should therefore ensure make-up, nail varnish and jewellery are completely removed prior to the procedure, and long hair is tied up.
You should be prepared to remove all layers of clothing where moles are present. Let your dermatologist know if you feel uncomfortable with this or if you would prefer to see a male or female Dermatologist. Our clinic has a chaperone policy in place and every patient has the right to have a chaperone present for their examination if they wish.
What aftercare is required for Mole Mapping?
Where the Dermatologist identifies moles they want to monitor, they may ask you to return for a review consultation in 3 months or 6 months. If you notice any changes in size, shape, colour or texture or new lesions of concern, you should schedule an appointment with the Dermatologist promptly.
Where there are no lesions of concern, good practice is to have an annual review with the Dermatologist
What is the cost of Mole Mapping?
Mole mapping skin examination takes time so is booked as a patient consultation. If you have a number of other issues you wish to discuss with the Dermatologist we would need to book that as a separate appointment, in order to give the Dermatologist sufficient time to give you an accurate and comprehensive skin examination. Our fees are listed here.