Mole mapping is used in conjunction with dermatoscopy. Any suspicious lesions are recorded on a body diagram or actual photograph, citing the size, color, borders, pigmentation network and location. This makes it easier to monitor moles or decide which ones should be removed. The mole map is kept in the patient charts and comparisons can be monitored over years.
Mole mapping, dermatoscopy, and photography all together are used by Dr. Critelli to monitor pigmented lesions over time in higher risk patients.
Not all moles need dermatoscopy. If they are clearly regular, one color and symmetrical with clear sharp borders, dermatoscopy may not be necessary.
Not all patients need serial photography or mole mapping. The combination of dermatoscopy and mole mapping annually or biannually are the best tools for monitoring patients at high risk for melanoma.
These procedures are non-invasive and do not cause any pain. Dermatoscopy, mole mapping and serial photography can be more time consuming in patients with many atypical lesions and some patients may be asked to return for a second visit for the best accuracy. We also see these patients more frequently.