The latest skin imaging device introduced in the marketplace is a multispectral analysis device called Melafind. It has a 2.5mm maximum depth of imaging and is being marketed for melanocytic lesion screening. See our blog on Melafind’s FDA approval process. Although the device is marketed for melanocytic lesions, the technology can be used for skin cancer evaluation. Despite its state of the art roll-out, it relies on the basic concept of multispectral image processing similar to dermoscopy. The critical difference for Melafind is the computer analysis of 10 distinct spectral bands from 430 to 950 nm, from near infrared through visible light spectrum, with 20 micron resolution. MelaFind analyzes the data using proprietary algorithms that were developed from their training-and-testing database. The database contains multi-spectral data and histological diagnoses for more than 10,000 biopsied lesions from over 7,000 patients. Basically, it tries to reproduce and dermatologist experienced in dermoscopy.
The cost of Melafind can be prohibitive. Melafind ownership requires charging patients at least $200 per scan on 3 patients per day to break even. Compared to a biopsy which is insurance reimbursable and more definitive, Melafind’s practicality is limited. Its application to other skin lesion evaluation and extent of lesion evaluation remains to be determined.
Other multispectral image processing platforms with computer analysis use SIAscopy™. Spectrophotometric intracutaneous analysis (SIA) scans eight consecutive discrete wavebands between 400nm and 1000nm and also penetrates to a depth of 2mm. SIAscopy is utilized by MoleMate and Dermetrics in proprietary image processing platforms.
Another system used exclusively in Europe is SpectroShade. It acquires images at 15 different spectral bands between 483 nm and 950 nm. Currently, it is most likely marketed for dentistry and tooth color evaluation.
DermLite II Multispectral is an inexpensive (under $1000) simple multispectral dermoscopy device using 4 wavelengths and relying on physician’s visual evaluation of the lesion instead of computer analysis. It is a “Melafind” without a computer.
Finally, the good old dermatoscope uses a single light frequency with magnification and polarization of light. It allows visualization only to the level of the papillary dermis. Systems with photo documentation allow lesion comparison over time and limited image analysis. These include Canfield Dermscope, MoleMax, and FotoFinder. The latest innovations have been the ability to combine a dermatoscope with an iPhone in a low cost image capture technology.
Multispectral photometric skin analysis is well represented with various gadgets, but at this point is limited to differentiating melanoma from benign moles. This leaves the dermatoscope as the most practical affordable technology in this segment.