Westlake Dermatology is the first dermatology practice in Texas to offer MelaFind®, the new FDA-approved medical technology that may be used during a skin exam to help see under the skin’s surface when a peculiar mole is found.
What is MelaFind?
MelaFind is the first and only medical device that non-invasively sees into and analyzes the skin to provide dermatologists with more information about atypical moles that may be melanoma. During a skin exam or mole check, a dermatologist visually evaluates moles to identify potentially harmful lesions that could be skin cancer. Unfortunately, dermatologists don’t always catch melanoma with the naked eye or with the use of a dermoscope. MelaFind is a tool that can be used in addition to the visual exam performed by a dermatologist to provide more information about certain irregular or atypical moles.
MelaFind uses 10 different wavelengths of light to analyze beneath the surface of the skin and obtain hidden data from a mole as deep as 2.5mm. In less than a minute, the data is processed by the system to tell your physician the extent that the mole exhibits irregular growth patterns underneath the surface of the skin. Based on the output and other key characteristics visually noted, your dermatologist can decide whether or not to remove an irregular-looking mole that they think could possibly be melanoma.
At this time, MelaFind is not covered by any insurance plans, and therefore cash payment is required.
What type of moles can be analyzed with MelaFind?
MelaFind is not intended to be used as a screening device and will only be used on moles that your dermatologist determines are irregular-looking and would like more information about.
MelaFind is indicated for use only when the following conditions apply:
- are clinically atypical cutaneous pigmented skin lesions with a diameter between 2mm and 22mm,
- are accessible by MelaFind,
- are sufficiently pigmented (i.e., not for use on non-pigmented or skin-colored lesions),
- do not contain a scar or fibrosis consistent with previous trauma,
- where the skin is intact (i.e., non-ulcerated or non-bleeding lesions),
- are greater than 1cm away from the eye,
- do not contain foreign matter,
- are not on certain anatomic sites, including palms of the hands, soles of the feet, lips, genitals, or beneath the nails.
Check your moles between skin exams. Melanoma often appears in an existing mole or looks like a new mole. By knowing where you have moles on your skin, you can melanoma when it first appears. Melanoma is most curable when treated early. If you notice any of these warning signs, see your dermatologist immediately:
- A mole that is growing, changing shape, or changing color
- A mole that looks scaly, oozes, or bleeds
- New dark spot on the skin that looks like a mole, but grows quickly
- Pain itching, or bleeding in a new spot on the skin
- Streak (usually brown or black) underneath the fingernail or toenail
- Bruise on the foot that does not heal