Mole Mapping Clinic

Mole Mapping Clinic
Patients are usually referred to this clinic because they have a personal history of melanoma or atypical nevi (moles), a family history of melanoma, or numerous unusual moles. Our goal is to provide photographs that can be used by your physician and you to effectively follow moles for signs of melanoma.

Below are some answers to frequently asked questions about the mole mapping clinic.

What does mole mapping mean?

Medical photographs are used by dermatologists to follow lesions over time. Often, patients have overview photos taken which can help detect new lesions. Mole mapping also includes close-up photography of atypical moles. Lesions are numbered on your body and a diagram, or "map" is used so the photographed lesions can be compared on subsequent examinations. This allows your provider and you to follow individual lesions more closely to detect early changes.

What happens during the visit?

First, our provider will see you in the dermatology clinic where you will have a full body skin exam. Moles that appear unusual would be identified by number and marked with ink on your skin. A map will be made of these moles to be used during subsequent exams.

The second half of the visit is with a medical photographer who will photograph your skin and the individual moles identified by your provider.

How long does this take?

You should plan to spend about 2 hours during this visit. The photography session usually lasts for one hour.

What should I wear?

Wear comfortable clothing and shoes that are easy to put on and take off. Please remove jewelry and watches, and if you have long hair, bring something along to pull it back into a ponytail.

During both portions of the visit, you will be asked to be completely undressed and be given a gown. You will be draped appropriately during the exam. During the photography session, we prefer that you are completely undressed or the photos will be of little benefit. The medical photographer will make every effort to ensure your comfort and privacy. If you are unable to undress completely, we request that you bring underwear you will be comfortable wearing that cover the least amount of skin (i.e. g-string thong). Bras, briefs or boxers are not acceptable. We will also provide a gown for portions of the photo session and you are welcome to bring along a chaperone. If you have further questions, please contact our professional medical photographer directly. 

Why are unusual lesions photographed instead of removed?

Lesions photographed are not suspicious for melanoma - however, they have unusual features that may defy some of the criteria that are established for typical moles. Mole mapping photography helps to reduce unnecessary removal of completely benign moles by documenting change over time. If there is a lesion that is suspicious for melanoma that is seen during the visit, we will notify you and arrange for its removal.

Does insurance cover the visit?

Your insurance will be billed for the provider portion of the visit similar to a routine doctor's visit. The cost of medical photography is not routinely covered by insurance companies, although there may be exceptions. You will be required to pay for the cost of the photography to the medical photographer at the time of your visit. Check, cash and credit cards (Visa/MasterCard) are accepted. The cost depends on how many photographs are taken.

Below are the expected costs, but again, we will not know how many photographs will be taken before your visit. We will also supply you with the diagnostic codes that are used for mole photography so that you may submit this information to your insurance company for reimbursement. We will not be able to submit the claim for the cost of the photography for you; we apologize for any inconvenience.

Overviews only: $325
Overviews + 1-12 close ups: $375
Overviews + 13-24 close ups: $425
Overviews + 25-36 close ups: $475
Overviews + close ups beyond 36 are $475 plus an additional $50 for each 12 close ups and may go beyond $650 for the session.

Will I get to keep the photos?

A set of photographs and a CD will be sent to you and to your referring physician. Please note that it will take up to 8 weeks to receive your photos.

How do I schedule an appointment?

The Mole Mapping Clinic is held Wednesday mornings. Please call the number to the right to schedule an appointment.

If you have any additional questions about the visit, please do not hesitate to contact us prior to your appointment.

Clinic Director

Susan Tofte, F.N.P.
Susan Tofte, F.N.P.