Utilization and rationale for the implementation of total body (digital) photography as an adjunct screening measure for melanoma

Zakiya P. Rice, Francesca J. Weiss, Laura K. Delong, Clara Curiel-Lewandrowski, Suephy C. Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The primary objective of our study was to update the prevalence of total body photography (TBP) utilization and the rationale for its implementation as an adjunctive screening measure by academic dermatologists across the USA, and investigate the emergence of total body digital photography (TBDP). Our secondary objective was to further examine how TBP/TBDP is being incorporated into the dermatology screening examination in academic pigmented lesion clinics. A questionnaire was mailed to 113 dermatology departments across the USA. About 43% (49/113) of surveyed departments responded. TBP was used by 67% (33/49) of the respondents. Of these respondents, 33% (11/33) used TBDP alone, 33% (11/33) used TBDP in combination with nondigitally based TBP, and 33% (11/33) used nondigital TBP with print photos. The three most frequently cited reasons for the use of full-body baseline photographs were that they reduced patient anxiety, led to fewer biopsies, and helped to find melanoma early in the curable stage. Respondents who did not use full body baseline photographs cited logistical constraints as the number one reason, followed by perceived lack of utility. In conclusion, our study shows that there is a significant number of academic dermatologists using TBP/TBDP. However, this study also shows that there are conflicting beliefs among academic dermatologists concerning the efficacy of TBP/TBDP. At this point with a documented growing trend in utilization of TBP, more studies are needed to evaluate the efficacy of this screening adjunct to diagnose melanoma early and positively impact survival because of early diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)417-421
Number of pages5
JournalMelanoma Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2010


  • atypical mole syndrome
  • melanoma
  • pigmented lesion clinic
  • total body digital photography
  • total body photography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Dermatology
  • Cancer Research


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