Mole mapping in NYC

What is mole mapping?

Mole mapping is a method used to track changes in skin spots over time. It is also known as total body photography or automated body mapping. The method uses high-resolution imaging.

It is very helpful for recognizing early signs of cancerous changes happening in moles. Mole mapping helps to detect new melanomas and atypical moles that would otherwise be difficult to diagnose.

How does mole mapping work?

Numerous high-resolution photographs will be taken during the session. They will be evaluated by a board-certified dermatologist for early signs of cancer.


Who will benefit from mole mapping?

While everybody can have mole mapping done, it is specifically useful for those who:

  • Have numerous moles (over 50)
  • Have atypical moles
  • Have numerous moles in areas that are difficult to reach (e.g., on the back or lower legs).
  • Have a light skin phototype with numerous freckles and sunspots.
  • Have a history of sunburns.
  • Have a personal or family history of melanoma in the past.
  • Mole mapping can be useful in tracking specific moles. This is especially helpful when a biopsy is not desirable on the day of the visit.

How does mole mapping work?

High-resolution images taken during mole mapping provide much more detailed information than can be obtained from a standard dermatologist exam. Total body photography can detect even minimal changes happening in moles.

It is well known that 75% of melanomas appear on normal skin. A patient who returns for regular mole checks can track any slight changes. This is done by comparing photographs taken of the moles at different time periods.

Changing moles are highly suspicious in patients over 50 years old. One study demonstrated that about 22% of changing moles in patients over 50 years old may be melanomas. A separate study tracked high-risk patients over 10 years using mole mapping. The results showed that 10% of the excised moles were melanoma. No metastatic melanoma was found in these patients. This highlights that the lesions would have potentially gone unnoticed if total body photography had not been used.

Mole mapping can reduce the number of unnecessary biopsies. A lesion that is slightly atypical but does not show signs of melanoma requires re-evaluation. Patient will come back in a few months, and new images will be obtained and compared to see if any changes have occurred. If so, a biopsy may be needed.

Mole mapping significantly reduces patients’ anxiety, especially in patients who have suffered from melanoma in the past. Mole mapping creates a culture of self-examining skin, and sun protection, and encourages seeking help early. Images can be stored and sent for a second opinion if desired.

Are there disadvantages of mole mapping?

Mole mapping is harmless and has no direct disadvantages. However, melanomas can sometimes appear between regular sessions. This can happen quickly.

The skin on the scalp and in areas covered with underwear is not photographed. However, in our office, we offer patients an examination of these areas to exclude the risk of melanoma.

How is mole mapping performed?

  • No specific preparation for mole mapping is needed.
  • Do not use any self-tanning lotions or concealers before mole mapping. This could interfere with the photography process.
  • You will be asked to fully undress, leaving just your underwear. Mole mapping takes only a few minutes. You will be asked to turn, and photographs will be taken in different positions (a total of 6 positions).
  • If you have a lot of body hair, it is recommended to shave in order to facilitate the examination of moles 

There is no direct contact with your skin during photography. After that, Dr. Kazlouskaya will examine the images on a computer screen and additionally examine moles clinically.

What happens if a suspicious mole is found during mole mapping?

It can be taken care of on the same day! A shave biopsy of a suspicious mole is included in the mole mapping. There is an additional fee for the pathology lab and slide evaluation.

What system do you use for mole mapping?

In our office, we use the FotoFinder total body imaging system (ATBM) made in Germany. This newly updated system features high-resolution, polarized, and raw-processed photos, as well as powerful image processing. This system has the benefit of allowing for quality pictures to be taken from 1.6 meters away from the patient. This ensures a safe hygiene distance can be maintained.

The ability to view all moles on one computer screen as a mosaic is beneficial. This helps the dermatologist spot moles that stand out from the rest, known as “ugly duck” moles.

How often should I get mole mapping done?

The frequency of mole mapping depends on your individual risk factors for melanoma. If you have had skin cancer in the past, you should consider having a mole mapping procedure more often. This could be beneficial for you.

If you have fewer risk factors, once a year may be sufficient. Dr. Kazlouskaya can help determine the best frequency of mole mapping for you.

Is mole mapping covered by my insurance?

Reimbursement for total body photography is a difficult subject. Insurance plans may cover the cost of total body photography for certain patients. These include those with multiple dysplastic nevi or a personal or familial history of melanoma. However, many insurance companies do not cover it.

Upon request, we may submit paperwork for insurance reimbursement. However, we cannot guarantee that the insurance will cover the cost. All patients are asked to pay for the procedure on the day of the procedure.

How long does the mole mapping procedure take?

The mole mapping procedure takes between 30 and 60 minutes. This includes
both the photography session and the examination.

What is the cost of mole mapping?

What should I do if I notice a change in a mole between mole mapping sessions?

It is important to schedule an appointment with Dr. Kazlouskaya if you see changes between mole mapping sessions. Do this as soon as possible. Don’t wait until your next scheduled mole mapping session. Early detection is key to the successful treatment of melanoma.

Contact us

What is the benefit of performing mole mapping in our clinic?

At our clinic, Dr. Kazlouskaya is present when taking photographs. If a suspicious mole is detected, she will inform the patient.

Areas of the body that are usually not photographed can be examined for the presence of an atypical mole. These areas include the scalp, genital areas, and armpits.

If a suspicious mole is found, a diagnostic biopsy can be performed on the same day.

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Tuesday 9AM-5PM
Friday 10AM-6PM
Every other Saturday 9AM-2PM (please, call in advance)