What is the role of photographic documentation of benign skin lesions?

Updated: Jan 30, 2020
  • Author: Ginard I Henry, MD; Chief Editor: Gregory Gary Caputy, MD, PhD, FICS  more...
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In this age of digital photography, the advantages of storage and reproduction of digital photographs clearly demonstrate its utility in the diagnosis and care of skin lesions. Most clinic and hospital filing systems do not yet have an easy way to store and reproduce digital photographs of lesions, but this technology is fast approaching.

Patients themselves can be an extremely useful source of a photographic history of a skin lesion progression over time. The advantage of using the patients as a source of skin lesion documentation is that compliance with HIPPA edicts is simpler; the disadvantages are possible poor photographic quality and imprecise interval recording. Nevertheless, photographic documentation of the lesion should be obtained whenever possible. In a randomized trial of nearly 1100 patients, photographic surveillance of skin lesions was shown to increase the early detection of melanoma and decrease biopsies of benign skin lesions. [43]

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