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State-of-the-Art 3D Imaging Can Spot Skin Cancer Early (Video)

It is known as the Vectra and it does something that only a dozen similar machines can do in the world: It compiles images into a single 3D picture of every blemish on the skin, assisting physicians in monitoring suspicious lesions and finding skin cancer at an early stage.

The Vectra is located at Miami Cancer Institute’s new Multidisciplinary Skin Cancer Clinic, the only such state-of-the-art machine in Florida. It is one of only six in the U.S. and one of 13 in the world.

The Vectra takes pictures of the whole surface of the skin, “so it’s basically a documentation of every single mole that the patient has on the body,” explains Naiara Braghiroli, M.D [1]., dermatologist with Miami Cancer Institute [2]. “This is the newest type of technology for total body mapping.”

(Watch now: The Baptist Health News team hears from Naiara Braghiroli, M.D., dermatologist with Miami Cancer Institute, about the new Vectra 3D imaging technology that can spot potentially cancerous skin lesions. Video by Steve Pipho and Carol Higgins.)

 The Vectra creates a 3D record of the entire surface of a person’s skin, allowing dermatologists to track any changes in the appearance of moles or lesions that could indicate early stages of melanoma. The Vectra is completely safe and the process takes only a few minutes. A patient stands in the middle of an array of 92 digital cameras, and the cameras all take photos simultaneously.

“There are other types of total body systems as well, but they do 2D images,” says Dr. Braghiroli. “The Vectra is the only one to do the 3D images. It’s very useful for a patient that has a lot of moles and a history of skin cancers.”

Within minutes, a computer uses special software to process and assemble the images into a 3-D avatar — a digital model of the patient — showing all of his or her lesions. The Vectra provides dermatologists with detailed “baseline imaging” which can be updated regularly to determine if further testing or other procedures or necessary.

The Institute’s Multidisciplinary Skin Cancer Clinic focuses on early detection and treatment of melanoma, in addition to treating patients with all types of skin cancer, including basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, Merkel Cell tumors and other rare tumors of the skin.

“With Vectra we have a baseline set of photographs that helps the dermatologist monitor the patient’s moles over time, THEN you can find new concerning lesions and possible skin cancer in its early phase,” explains Dr. Braghiroli. “It’s a powerful ancillary tool to help us monitor high-risk patients for developing skin cancers.” She emphasizes that a complete skin check performed by a dermatologist is essential for every patient with history of skin cancers.