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What is a Dermatoscope?

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Author: Catherine Halls


Dermatoscopy (also known by some as dermoscopy or epiluminescence microscopy) is the word which describes the study and examination of the skin using a dermatoscope.

Dermoscopes, or dermatoscopes, are useful tools used by skin doctor to help with examining the skin. It is a non invasive hand-held magnification tool, much like a magnifying glass, with a light source attached. It is straightly placed on the skin surface of the patient to analyze the key morphological structures of skin wounds that are on and below the surface of skin that are not easily seeable by the naked eye. It provides direct showing and analyze of the epidermis and papillary dermis. This uncluttered view of the skin can help with diagnosing skin cancers, especially melanomas and differentiating melanoma skin cancer from moles or more benign pigmented nevi.

Use of a dermatoscope

While dermatoscopes were primitively invented for use in the diagnosing of malignant melanoma skin cancer, they can be used for showing and diagnosis many skin diseases. Modified dermatoscopes are speedily becoming a standard in hair research. Dermatoscopes captured hair Images, and even just modified digital cameras with optical attachments, can be processed using peculiar software to count hair denseness, diameter, and hair growth rates. Dermatoscopes can be used for a close scrutiny of many skin diseases including xeroderma pigmentosum, folliculitis, scar tissue and vascular supply, dermatofibroma, lentigo maligna, and a variety of nevi.

Dermatoscope applications

It is especially useful in the diagnosing of malignant melanoma. In this case, a dermatologist may need a close up view of the skin to differentiate a melanoma cancer from a benign mole. While melanoma diagnosing is the most common use for a dermatoscope, dermatoscopes may also be useful for many other diagnoses as well. Studies have been brought out that use dermatoscopes to valuate capillaries in the skin and finger nail beds and to study patterns of hair follicles and their denseness. They have also been used to analyze conditions including pityriasis rosea, spitz nevus, actinic keratosis, and even the consequences of drugs such as steroid atrophy evaluation.

It's a dermatoscope not a dermoscope!

While most dermatologists use the words "dermoscope" and "dermoscopy" when explaining the study of the skin using a magnifying tool the correct words are actually "dermatoscopic", "dermatoscope" and also "dermatoscopy". Just to emphasize that - the examination of the skin is called dermatology and not dermology! The word form beginning with dermat- or dermato- combines the stem of the Greek word derma, meaning skin, or dermatos, of the skin. Therefore dermatoscopy is the study of the skin with a magnifying device - a dermatoscope.

About the author: The writer Catherine Halls is deeply involved with a research on examination of the skin using a dermatoscope. She also writes informative articles to educate people on dermatoscope. For more detail please visit: - http://www.dermatoscopes.com/.


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