Dermoscopy: Distinguishing Malignant Tumors from Benign

Andrea Gulia; Alexandra Maria Giovanna Brunasso; Cesare Massone

Disclosures

Expert Rev Dermatol. 2012;7(5):439-458. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

Abstract

Dermoscopy has dramatically developed, becoming a well-established routine technique in many countries in the mid-1980s. Dermoscopy allows physicians to observe structures and colors otherwise not visible to unaided eyes, increasing melanoma diagnostic accuracy by up to 35%. Moreover, dermoscopy allows for increases in the number of diagnosed and excised melanomas together with a reduction in the number of unnecessary excisions. New data are continuously acquired mostly on melanoma diagnosis, follow-up of melanocytic lesions and nevogenesis. Short-term 3-month follow-up is the optimum time interval for identifying minimal changes in featureless melanomas. Nevertheless, long-term follow-up is similarly useful for the recognition of changes in melanomas with very low rates of growth. In the last few years a huge number of publications on dermoscopy have been published. The aim of this review is to summarize the most important recent advances in dermoscopy.

Introduction

Dermoscopy or dermatoscopy[1,2] is a noninvasive technique that consists of viewing pigmented skin lesions through a hand-held lens, a dermatoscope or a video imaging system.[3] This procedure allows physicians to observe structures and colors otherwise not visible to unaided eyes, increasing melanoma diagnostic accuracy by up to 35%.[1,4,5] The conventional dermoscopic diagnosis is based on the assessment of specific criteria and on the application of different diagnostic algorithms.[3] Since its introduction in the mid-1980s dermoscopy has dramatically developed and become a well-established, routine technique in many European countries and Australia. Nevertheless, in other countries, like the USA, dermoscopy still struggles to be accepted in daily clinical practice.[6]

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