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Melanoma is the most aggressive type of skin cancer and it is the only type of cancer with a death rate still on the rise.  Early detection can be difficult and the long term prognosis of a patient is largely dependent on how early it has been diagnosed. 


One group of moles of particular concern clinically are called dysplastic naevi. Fifty percent of melanoma are developed  from dysplastic naevi. They also share some common features with early melanoma and they are commonly indistinguishable from early melanoma. Total Body Photography combined with close monitoring program is one way that can help in detecting early changes of this group of moles before they have a chance to metastasize (spread to other areas of the body). 


What Is Total Body Photography / Digital Monitoring?


Total Body Photography and Digital Monitoring is a series of multiple high resolution digital photographs that are taken from head to toe of the patient’s skin and stored on a most secured data base.  More importantly, dermatoscopic pictures of high-risk moles such as dysplastic naevi, are taken and labeled for close monitoring.  These records are used as a baseline, which allows your doctor and you to track changes over time in existing moles and also to check for the presence of new moles.  Any 

changes to existing moles and the presence of new moles are important information to determine if a biopsy is necessary.  Subtle changes can be difficult to detect and without a close monitoring program they can be easily overlooked by any doctor. 


Frequently asked questions


Who Should Have Total Body Photography / Digital Monitoring?


  1. Persons with Dysplastic Naevus Syndrome
  2. Persons with 50 or more moles
  3. Individuals with a personal history or family history of melanoma
  4. Persons with any number of dysplastic naevi
  5. Anyone who is concerned about their moles
  6. Anyone with moles and fair skin (Fitzpatrick skin type I or II)



How Do I Prepare For The Procedure?


TBP takes around 30 minutes to complete.  Privacy is ensured at all stages.

  • Make-up: Should be kept to a minimum
  • Hair: If necessary, hair should be tied back so that no areas of skin like the face, back, neck and shoulders are impeded.
  • Jewellery: Needs to be removed beforehand.
  • Underwear: Preferably neutral in colour and of a brief style.



How Much Does It Cost?


The fee for Total Body Photography / Digital Monitoring is $300.  Medicare does not offer a rebate for this service however some private health funds may do and this would need to be investigated by the individual.  Payment would be required at the time of service. 


Is Total Body Photography / Digital Monitoring harmful?


No. The equipment used for this procedure are a digital camera, dermatoscope, and computer which are not harmful to your health.


How often will I need to be seen for digital monitoring?


It is advisable that patients with high risk of developing melanoma or non-melanoma skin cancer is to be followed up very six months.




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