Use of and beliefs about baseline photography in the management of patients with pigmented lesions: A survey of dermatology residency programmes in the United States
Medical photography is often used in dermatology to aid in the clinical surveillance of patients with pigmented lesions. This study aimed to assess the utilization, logistics, rationale and beliefs about the usefulness of baseline photography in patients with pigmented lesions by physicians in dermatology residency programmes, and to compare current utilization to that reported in the last decade. Questionnaires were mailed to directors of all accredited dermatology residency programmes in the United States (n = 105). Eighty-three physicians responded to the questionnaire (79%). Utilization of total body and individual lesion photography was reported by 63% and 75% of the respondents, respectively; 16% of the respondents did not use any method of photography. Reasons for using photography included the following beliefs: that it helps detect early melanoma, it results in fewer biopsies, and it reduces patient anxiety. Financial and logistical constraints were reasons why some programmes were not utilizing photography. Thus baseline photography is currently used in a majority of academic dermatology programmes as an aid in the early detection of melanoma.