We provide a clinical photography service to help doctors reach a diagnosis and plan treatment for our patients.

Sometimes doctors need high-quality photographs to help diagnose your condition and plan your treatment. In these cases, they will refer you to biomedical imaging and media services for clinical photography. 

One of our clinical photographers will then take images to help with your diagnosis and to make sure we have a record of your condition from the start. The photographer will take more images over time, so that the doctors can keep track of changes in your condition and see how you are responding to treatment.  

We provide services to all specialties across the hospital. Some of our main users are:

  • Ophthalmology
  • Dermatology
  • Plastic surgery
  • Breast health
  • Neurology
  • Tissue viability
  • Oncology

Ophthalmology (Eyes)

We work alongside your medical team to provide a range of test, including those detailed below.

  • Fluorescein angiogram – during this eye test, a special camera takes pictures of the blood vessels inside your eye. Dye is injected into a vein in your arm, and pictures are taken while the dye moves through the blood vessels in your eye. This helps the medical team identify problems such as weak or blocked blood vessels. Your skin may look tanned afterwards and your urine can become orange. This is a normal reaction and it should go away within 24 hours. 
  • OCT test – OCT stands for optical coherence tomography, which is like an ultrasound of the eye. This service may be provided through a “virtual clinic”. This means that the images are taken by the ophthalmic photographer and the doctor then reviews the photographs separately to ensure that the disease is not progressing. 

Dermatology (Skin)

Dermatology is a specialty that looks at the skin and skin problems. Our clinical photographers provide a monitoring service to support the dermatologists. For example, if a patient has a mole that could be a melanoma (skin cancer), it needs to be monitored closely. In this case, the dermatologist may refer the patient for clinical photography. The photographer will take a “dermascopic image” using a special lens which touches your skin. It is not invasive or painful. The dermatologist can then use the images to help diagnose and monitor your condition. 

Plastic surgery and breast health

If you are coming to the Mater Hospital for reconstructive surgery after a mastectomy (removal of breast), the plastics team will refer you for clinical photography to have images taken. This helps the doctors to assess your current situation and to plan your reconstruction. Patient privacy and confidentiality is always a priority for us and your face is never shown in the images. 

Neurology (Brain and nervous system)

Some neurological conditions affect how a person moves, so your neurologist may refer you for clinical photography. We then take a video to capture your movement – for example, your gait or any tremor you might have. This can then be used to help the doctors to diagnose and monitor your condition. 

Tissue viability

We provide a clinical photography service to inpatients and outpatients with pressure sores or ulcers. This allows the medical team to assess your condition and track how it is responding to treatment. 

Oncology (Cancer medicine)

When a patient is having chemotherapy, their doctor may refer them for clinical photography to take images of the tumour. The medical team can then use these images, alongside CT scans, to track changes in the tumour and to see if the treatment is working. 

Non-accidental injuries

If a patient comes in to the hospital with a non-accidental injury, the social worker may ask the clinical photographer to take pictures of the injury. This is to ensure that the patient has the images if they decide to make a formal complaint against the attacker. The images are kept at the patient’s discretion and can be destroyed at their request. 

Referral Information

If you are referred to us as an inpatient, the clinical photographer will usually come to you on the ward, in the Emergency Department or in theatre. 

If you are referred as an outpatient, you will usually be asked to either come to our department after your clinic or to make a follow-up appointment. The doctor will arrange this for you. 

When you come in for your appointment, you will meet with the clinical photographer. They will explain the procedure to you and answer any questions you may have. Patient privacy is a priority for us, and any images taken are kept confidentially in accordance with hospital policy.