Dermatoscopy, otherwise called dermoscopy or epiluminescence microscopy, is the examination of skin injuries using a dermatoscope.
A dermatoscope is a tool which is used by a doctor to study and observe your skin wounds without any impediment of skin surface appearance. In the past dermatoscope procedures, your doctor uses a traditional dermatoscope which has several components, including a nonpolarized light that is used for skin surface reflections, a magnifier that has a typical strength of 310, a transparent plate and a liquid medium. Recently, a liquid medium is not used in a dermoscope procedure.
Why is dermoscopy required?
A dermatoscopy can help you and your doctor discover any skin lesions and can also help them make a diagnosis about whether your skin lesion is benign or malignant. Examples of cancerous skin tumors that can be revealed by a dermatoscopy include angiomas, basal cell carcinomas, cylindromas, dermatofibromas, seborrheic keratosis and squamous cell carcinomas.
In modern years, a digital dermatoscopy is used to record and monitor potential cancerous skin lesions.
After a digital dermatoscopy, your doctor will be able to distinguish what kind of skin lesions you have. Benign skin lesions will remain the same over time. However, if lesions change in appearance over time, they should be removed.
Dermatoscopy can also help a dermatologist diagnose fungal infections, hair and scalp diseases.
Which doctor to consult?
You can visit a dermatologist if you are planning to undergo a dermatoscopy. They will help you understand the test and make a diagnosis for you. They will also explain about the skin lesions that you may have, its risks and complications and its proper care.
What to expect during the dermoscopy procedure?
A dermoscopy requires the latest technology, like a high quality magnifying lens and a powerful lighting system that will allow your dermatologists to examine your skin lesions thoroughly.
A skin examination done from time to time can help dermatologists discover skin lesions in early stages and prevent it from becoming severe.
During the dermatoscopy procedure, the chacteristics of skin lesions will be observed. These characteristics may include:
- Border of the lesion: fading, sharply cut off or radial streaks
- Distribution of pigment: brown lines, dots, clots and structureless areas
- Homogeny/uniformity or heterogeny (structural differences across the lesion)
- Presence of ulceration
- Skin surface keratin: small white cysts, crypts, fissures
- Symmetry or asymmetry
- Vascular morphology and pattern: regular or irregular
There are specific dermoscopic patterns that aid in the diagnosis of the following pigmented skin lesions:
- Atypical naevi
- Blue naevi
- Freckles (lentigos)
- Moles (benign melanocytic naevus)
- Pigmented basal cell carcinoma
- Seborrhoeic keratosis
Complications after a dermatoscopy rarely happen. Talk to your doctor about your risks.
- DS Medica. (2019). Dermoscopy. Retrieved from http://www.dermoscopy.org/faq.asp
- Goulart JM, Malvehy J, Puig S, Martin G, Marghoob AA. Dermoscopy in Skin Self-examination: A Useful Tool for Select Patients. Arch Dermatol. 2011;147(1):53–58. doi:10.1001/archdermatol.2010.387
- Kamińska-Winciorek, G., & Placek, W. (2015). The most common mistakes on dermatoscopy of melanocytic lesions. Postepy dermatologii i alergologii, 32(1), 33-9.
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