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International Academy of Cosmetic Dermatology

DERMOSCOPY

Dermoscopy permits the evaluation of pigmented lesions of the skin, defining their nature, distinguishing them as benign, slightly or highly suspicious of melanoma, and suggesting whether or not the need for surgical excision.  It is a complementary diagnostic procedure which requires specific experience on the part of the dermatologist and whose objectives are to add more precision to the dermatological clinical examination.

In this procedure, the dermatologist examines the patient’s skin with the aid of a portable device, the dermoscope that allows the visualization of the internal structures of the skin without any trauma or incision.  Dermoscopy is performed prior to doing a biopsy of a pigmented skin lesion to determine the need for surgical removal. The lesions are photographed and their images stored so they can be reevaluated and compared in the future.

Advantages of dermoscopy include:
  • Increased credibility for the surgical removal of suspected skin lesions
  • Assistance in making an early diagnosis of cutaneous melanoma
  • Help in determining if a lesion must be removed with an extensive safety margin
  • Allowing benign lesions to be observed in their evolution, preventing unnecessary and frequently traumatic biopsies
  • Digital documentation of the lesions
Dermoscopy of pigmented lesions include studying melanoma – ABC Rule
If more than one of the below criteria is true for your lesion, contact your dermatologist immediately:
A – Asymmetry  (irregular format)
B – Borders (irregular, blurred, or indented borders)
C – Color (brown/black/colored areas or white)
D – Diameter (more than 6 millimeters or 2 3/8 inches)
E – Evolution (changes in the lesion)
It is a complementary diagnostic procedure, which requires specific experience of the dermatologist, whose objective is to add more precision to the dermatological clinical examination.

Gabriella Campos-do-Carmo, MD
Marcia Ramos-e-Silva, MD, PhD
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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