Welcome to dermatoscopes.com
Dermatoscopes, or dermoscopes, are useful tools used
by dermatologists to help with examining the skin.
At its most simple, a dermatoscope is a hand held
optical device, much like a magnifying glass, with
a light source attached. The dermatologist places
the optical eyepiece over the area of skin of interest
and using the built in light he/she can view the skin
in great detail. This clear view of the skin can help
with diagnosing skin cancers, particularly melanomas
and differentiating melanoma skin cancer from moles
or more benign pigmented nevi.
The advantages of using a dermatoscope are three
fold. First, they help to differentiate melanocytic
lesions from nonmelanocytic and malignant lesions
from nonmalignant. This enables malignant melanoma
skin cancer to be diagnosed at an earlier and
much more treatable stage. This in turn helps to avoid unnecessary surgery and
improves patient morbidity and mortality. Second, dermoscopy can be used to
justify a case for surgical excision. This can be particularly important for
dermatologists operating in a HMO environment where it protects the dermatologist
and the patient from less experienced pathologists! Third, a common complaint
of patients attending dermatology clinics is that they feel they were not properly
examined. In part this is in the nature of dermatology where there are relatively
few diagnostic tests that can be performed. However, examination with a dermatoscope
can reassure the patient that they have received a thorough skin examination.
Dermatoscopes or dermoscopes are a popular accessory
for dermatologists in European countries. Notably
however, only about 25 percent of dermatologists in
the USA currently use a dermatoscope despite the proven
aiding diagnosis of melanoma skin cancers. One study
conducted a meta-analysis of medical journal articles
on the use of dermatoscopes and demonstrated that
the diagnostic accuracy of dermoscopy is significantly
better than the use of the naked eye by up to 49 percent
- depending on the experience of the examiner. Considering
melanoma skin cancer is one of the most aggressive
and least treatable cancers, improving diagnostic
accuracy with by using a dermatoscope can save lives!
Hopefully the use of dermatoscopes in US clinics will
improve in the near future.
Dermatoscopes dot com is a web site dedicated to
providing information on dermatoscopy and hopefully
promoting the wider use of dermatoscopes!