Skin melanocytic tumor

Topic Completed: 1 March 2013

Minor changes: 2 April 2019

Copyright: 2003-2019,, Inc.

PubMed Search: skin melanocytic tumor [title] dermoscopy

Christopher S. Hale, M.D.
Page views in 2019: 169
Page views in 2020 to date: 41
Cite this page: Hale C Dermoscopy. website. Accessed May 30th, 2020.
Definition / general
  • Method of skin examination using an optical instrument with a light source
  • Often combined with immersion fluid to reduce light reflection from skin surface; common immersion fluids include oil, ultrasonographic gel, alcohol based disinfectants, water; recommended to use alcohol based gel as immersion fluid to prevent nosocomial infections (Dermatol Surg 2006;32:552)
  • Allows visualization of pigmentation patterns and deeper skin structures than can be seen with naked eye
  • Dermoscopy is a link between clinical and histologic examination, permitting an earlier diagnosis (Int J Dermatol 2008;47:712)
  • See also discussion under particular entities
  • References: eMedicine, DermNet NZ
  • Also called dermatoscopy, skin surface microscopy
Uses by pathologists
  • Analyze pigmented skin lesions - benign lesions tend to have symmetrical dermoscopic structures and colors, but malignant lesions tend to have irregular and atypical dermoscopic structures (J Dermatol 2006;33:513)
  • Improves the ability of primary care physicians to accurately triage lesions suggestive of skin cancer (J Clin Oncol 2006;24:1877)
  • Standardized reporting system has been recommended (J Am Acad Dermatol 2007;57:84)
  • ABCDE criteria are commonly used: Asymmetry, irregular borders, multiple colors, diameter > 6 mm and enlarging lesion
  • CASH algorithm (color, architecture, symmetry, homogeneity) may also be useful (J Am Acad Dermatol 2007;56:45)
  • Dermoscopic nevus type varies by skin type in white people (Arch Dermatol 2007;143:351)
Image collections / lectures
Back to top