Dysplastic Nevi Syndrome, Many Biopsied, Sick of Getting Cut?

I have a fam history of melanoma (grandpa:babyoil/iodine, uncle:tanning beds) and DNS in mom and sister. Grew up in FL. Now, many (>12) "suspicious" moles removed for biopsy, many came back dysplastic, none have been melanoma. Last visit: 6 removed (one on my foot-OW!). Sick of cuts, return visits, itchiness, and now, multiplying scars. Can I safely say-"no, lets be more conservative"? Last time I wanted to wait (small mole on face, had family pics), I had to sign a "noncompliance" release!

Doctor Answers 2

Total Body Photography

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Total body photography (TBP), done by photographers who specialize in mole mapping, is a technique that I use to follow patients with DNS. I refer my patients for special photography at the University of Washington, then have them bring their photos with each follow-up and I compare the photos to the patient's skin for new moles. TBP has been shown to detect changes in the shape and size of moles. I have found TBP in conjunction with dermoscopy (using a hand held tool that helps one look up close at moles) helpful in monitoring my patients with DNS. You could ask your dermatologist if total body photography is an option for you. Unfortunately, is rarely covered by insurance.

Some specialty pigmented lesion clinics, usually in the university setting, combine total body photography with digital dermoscopy. Doctors have the ability to take photographs of the dermatoscopic image and follow it over time.   You could also see if there is a clinic at the university in your area that specializes in pigmented lesions and/or uses these techniques.

Bothell Dermatologic Surgeon

Abnormal Moles and MelaFind

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There is a new device called MelaFind which uses computer vision and computer analysis to evaluate moles non-invasively.  MelaFind gives a high or low score.  The higher the score, the more worrisome the mole.  MelaFind is useful to identify those moles which may be dangerous and should be removed.  MelaFind also helps to identify those moles which have low risk and do not need to be removed.  MelaFind is not covered by insurance but the cost is reasonable.  I would suggest that you research if MelaFind is available in your area.  You can go on the MelaFind website and do a search for your geographic area. 

Richard Ort, MD
Lone Tree Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

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