WHAT IS IT?
MelaFind (MELA Sciences) is a computer-assisted melanoma diagnostic device that non-invasively provides dermatologists with more information about atypical moles that may be melanoma. 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.
During exam, while a dermatologist visually evaluates a mole to identify potentially cancerous and harmful lesions, melanoma is not always detectable with the naked eye or by dermoscope. MelaFind’s technology provides your dermatologist with a tool to use in addition to a visual exam to help determine how irregular the growth pattern of your mole is from underneath the skin. A dermatologist should only use MelaFind on irregular-looking moles that warrant more information. MelaFind will return results that are labeled either “High Disorganization” or “Low Disorganization,” so your dermatologist can factor this information into the final diagnosis of the mole.
MelaFind should only be used on moles that have been determined as irregular by your dermatologist. These are the conditions in which MelaFind may be used:
- Accessible by MelaFind
- Clinically atypical cutaneous pigmented skin lesions with a diameter between 2mm and 22mm
- Sufficiently pigmented (i.e., not for use on non-pigmented or skin-colored lesions)
- Does not contain a scar or fibrosis consistent with previous trauma
- The skin is intact and non-ulcerated or non-bleeding
- Must be more than 1cm away from the eye
- Not on certain anatomic sites, including palms of the hands, soles of the feet, lips, genitals, or beneath the nails
WHO IS IT FOR?
MelaFind can greatly help anyone in the early detection of melanoma; however, it is not to be used as a screening device. MelaFind should only be used on irregular seeming moles of which your dermatologist requires additional information to more accurately diagnose.
Because alcohol is sprayed on the mole before the device is applied, those allergic to isopropyl alcohol are not candidates for MelaFind.
WHAT DOES THE TREATMENT FEEL LIKE?
MelaFind is a non-invasive device that is placed lightly on top of the skin to provide a quick, painless evaluation in the comfort of your dermatologist’s office. First, your dermatologist prepares for the MelaFind evaluation by shaving any hair growing on and surrounding the irregular mole and by spraying the mole with alcohol to help get good quality data. Then, the MelaFind hand-held device will be lowered into contact with the skin and multi-spectral data will be obtained within seconds.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?
The MelaFind procedure takes 2 to 3 minutes in total.
ARE THERE IMMEDIATE SIDE EFFECTS?
The application of alcohol may cause minor irritation to skin, otherwise there are no side effects associated with MelaFind.
WHAT ARE ANTICIPATED RESULTS?
MelaFind will return results that are labeled either “High Disorganization” or “Low Disorganization,” so your dermatologist can factor this information into the final diagnosis of the mole. In certain cases, MelaFind will be unable to analyze the data and will inform your dermatologist that the mole is non-evaluable.
RECOMMENDED COURSE FOR OPTIMAL RESULTS?
MelaFind is a subjective tool that is to be used at the discretion of a certified doctor who specializes in skin cancer prevention and the MelaFind device.
WHO SHOULD GIVE ME THIS TREATMENT?
You should only visit an actively board certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon. Dermatologists should be certified by the American Board of Dermatology (ABD). Plastic Surgeons should be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). Both of those boards are part of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), a non-profit organization that is considered the gold standard of physician certification. Consult the Charlotte’s Book Premier Provider directory to find a doctor who meets these standards and specializes in this treatment. For more information about how we choose our providers, please read Credentials We Abide By.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
$150 – $250 per session; because MelaFind is newly on the market, it is unlikely to be covered by insurance at this time.
Remember that everyone is at risk for melanoma, no matter your skin tone, sun exposure, or family history…that is why it is extremely important to be regularly evaluated by a trusted, certified dermatologist.
Disclaimer: As always, this information is provided to you for educational and/or informational purposes only, and should not be construed as an endorsement of any particular product, treatment, or procedure. This information is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment by a doctor or other qualified health care professional. For medical concerns, including decisions about any procedure or treatment, users should always consult their doctor or other qualified health care professional. Please visit our Terms of Service to view our full disclaimers