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Mole Mapping: An Overview

By Kevin Jacob, Senior Medical Photographer at Illingworth Research

10th May 2012

What is Mole Mapping?

With regards to a person’s naevi moles, it is the mapping of a selection or all sites using photography.  The resultant record can then be catalogued and used as a comparator when monitoring for potential skin cancers.

What guidelines apply to Mole Mapping?

The Institute of Medical Illustrators (IMI) has produced a set of guidelines which identifies the images to be taken for each part of the body to be mapped.  To ensure accurate positioning and standardised lighting is maintained throughout, qualified medical photographers are traditionally employed.  Including scale in the image, recording at set magnifications and utilising cross polarised photography are commonly employed to gain maximum information from the site. Further information can be found in the IMI Mole Mapping Guidelines, freely available here.

What are the benefits of creating a Mole Map?

The main advantages of creating a photographic mole map are:

  • Changes in moles and new moles can be easily detected
  • Images are easily transferred electronically or printed for notes
  • Professional images are accurate and quickly recorded
  • Consultant time is reduced

As the image below shows, sites can appear completely different depending upon lighting technique employed – hence the need for consistency and a professional.





If you are interested in Mole Mapping, or would further information about our Medical Photography services, please visit out services page or contact us at info@illingworthresearch.com.