Mole mapping is an advanced, high-resolution digital technology used to create a ‘map’ of the body from head to toe, which allows you to assess all moles, and to track any changes over time.
At Derma Reading, we are using the latest technology from Fotofinder for Automated Total Body Mapping, the ATBM Master. This offers the earliest possible diagnostics of melanoma using “Total Body Dermoscopy” – fully automated and in brilliant quality. This is a revolution in the earliest detection of skin cancer, and Derma Reading has one of less than 10 machines currently in use in the UK.
Furthermore, at every mole mapping appointment, your skin will be reviewed by a dermatologist, who will then write a report with images showing your moles and identifying any moles of concern with recommendations.
Derma Reading is the only clinic offering such a complete and high-quality mole-mapping service within a 30-mile radius.
What is the Benefit of Mole Mapping?
While many patients can track their own skin, it can be difficult, especially if they have a lot of moles, or have moles in hard-to-see areas, such as the back and shoulders. This can be exceptionally hard to do for patients with mobility issues.
According to NHS data, around 175,000 new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the UK each year. Many of these can be avoided if changes in the skin are caught and removed early in their development. This is why people who have a history of skin cancers, or those who are at higher risk of developing them, need to check their skin for suspicious growths, which can often (but not always) occur in moles. By monitoring changes, it is more likely to be able to catch and treat any issue at an earlier stage, increasing the chance of cure. Early removal of lesions also reduces the risk of scarring.
Skin cancers can arise from freckles or other marks on the skin – even if they appear to be ‘harmless,’ and so self-checking may not be adequate in diagnosing a suspicious growth that appears similar to normal skin.
The images taken in mole mapping are much different than the average high-resolution photo, and provide highly accurate, extremely detailed photographs, which allow the dermatologist to zoom in up to 140x to see a magnified view of any mole, mark, or suspicious growth on the body.
Because the photos are taken under identical lighting conditions, and in identical positioning, mole mapping generates much more accurate results than comparing traditional photos, in which the lighting or the position of the patient’s body can be varied.
Dermatologists are highly skilled at scanning a body for suspicious moles, and can often pick up lesions early. However, they are unable to pick up subtle changes in a person’s skin over a period of time. This is where mole-mapping excels, picking up even the smallest changes in moles and bringing these to the dermatologist’s attention.
Additionally, since the body’s surface is vast, generating a mole map is much more efficient than having the dermatologist manually scan the whole body. With mole mapping, patients’ skin can be just as thoroughly assessed, and patients only need further examination in the event that a particular mark requires the dermatologist to more closely inspect the skin.
Derma will safely and confidentially store a digital mole map along with other personal information, and it can later be referenced and analysed against subsequent maps (usually taken yearly) allowing the dermatologist to see if anything has changed.
Prices for Mole Mapping
At Derma we believe in price transparency to help you make the right decision, if you need further information about pricing, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
|Initial mole mapping||£345|
|Following a Consultation||£250|
* Instead of mole mapping, you can have an initial consultation with a Consultant Dermatologist to check over your moles and discuss treatment options. If you want a mole mapping following your consultation, this is offered at a reduced price of £250.
Who is Mole Mapping Suitable For?
Mole mapping is suitable for patients who either have a personal or family history of skin cancers, or who are at increased risk of developing skin cancers as a result of other factors.
Other factors could include:
If you have a single mole you are concerned about, you should see your GP or a dermatologist. However, if you have a lot of moles, and are concerned that you might miss changes in these over time, then mole mapping is the best tool available for monitoring your skin.
What is the Process of Mole Mapping at Derma?
Your appointment for mole mapping will begin with a consultation with a dermatology specialist nurse, who will also conduct the process of mole mapping.
You will need to remove your clothing, but unless the skin under your undergarments is relevant to the sites of your moles, you should be able to keep those on. You can have a family member attend the appointment with you, or there will be a chaperone available should you want one.
Our specialist dermatology nurse will ask you to stand in a specific position while an automatic lift moves a camera to settings determined by your height and body shape. The camera snaps four photos of each side of your body in quick sequence.
The photos are digitally stitched together, generating a comprehensive view of your whole body and showing detailed pictures of each mole. If there are any moles that you or the nurse are particularly concerned about these can be captured in even more detail using the video dermatoscope.
After your appointment a dermatologist will review the images and produce a report, which will usually be sent to you within two days.
This report will either:
This report can be sent to your GP either for a referral on the NHS or a private referral for treatment at Derma.
If the dermatologist is concerned about any mole and needs a more detailed image to make a diagnosis, this follow-up scan will be conducted free of charge.
The report will also recommend if and when you should come back for another mole mapping, which may be in three to six months, or conducted once a year. Subsequent mole mappings are even more useful as they highlight any new or changed moles, which is essential in the early detection of skin cancer.
A few centres do have access to mole mapping but it is not widely available.
It is a sophisticated way of taking high definition images of your moles to be able to monitor them more accurately using a specialised computer that takes photos of your whole body which can be accurately compared at each follow up appointment. The system is called the Fotofinder ATBM (Automated Total Body Mapping)vMaster. This allows the detection of changing or new moles earlier and more accurately.
It is a good idea to monitor your moles at home regularly at monthly intervals but it is recommended that you are seen by a dermatologist for a mole check annually as a lot can change over the course of a year.
Moles should be checked ideally annually by a dermatologist but you should self monitor on a monthly basis.
Mole mapping is a specialised way to monitor more accurately for any new or early changes.
Because the images can be magnified upto 400 times, it is a highly accurate system that can pick up early changes easily.
Some insurance companies will cover mole mapping especially if there is a history of previous skin cancer, but it is always worth checking with your individual company first.
The scar that results from mole removal is dependent on the size of the lesion removed and the location of the mole. Scars can be more prominent if they are over a joint or a more mobile part of the skin, but over time they do fade and blend in with the surrounding skin.
Dermatologists are highly trained specialists in the management of skin cancers and are able to diagnose a skin cancer by looking at it most of the time, but occasionally a biopsy is needed for the mole to be analysed in more detail to make the diagnosis.
If a mole is changing in terms of shape, colour or size then it is always worth getting it reviewed by a specialist.
The whole process including review by a consultant dermatologist takes around 30 minutes.
If a mole has changed or is causing symptoms then it is best to have it reviewed by a specialist.
The system generates a report including the images taken which are sent to you with a covering letter from the consultant dermatologist usually within a week of the appointment.
Whilst it is possible to have only mole checked, the benefits of mole mapping are at their best when the total body is mapped. If it is just one mole you are concerned about you would be better to have a consultation with a dermatologist.
The consultant will usually discuss this with you if it is identified when they are reviewing you, but if it is picked on after the appointment when the images are analysed then you will be notified by either a telephone call or a letter from the consultant.
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