Updated: Apr 30, 2019
What is a Dermoscope or Trichoscope? Also known as Epiluminescence microscopy, it opens a new dimension to skin examination through polarization and magnetic optics technology. It also offers the physician the convenience of visualizing on a phone or monitor.
Visualizing the skin and it's appendages at a closer angle serves as a substitute or supplementary method to cutting and examining the skin. This technique is particularly useful when it comes to odd moles that bring along anxiety. At such a stage, certain key features can be picked up by a magnifying instrument (and not by magnifying glass or naked eye) that differentiates a benign lesion from a cancerous one. Furthermore these features can be captured as an image for recording purposes. When it comes to the skin this is known as a Dermatoscope and for visualizing hair it is Trichoscope.
When it comes to pigmentary lesions, a 5-point rule is followed which narrows down on whether the lesion is benign or malignant
The power of magnification starts from 10x or 20x, and the additional principles such as magnetic optics, autofocus, and polarization gives the physician an inside view of the skin, hair and nails. The image can be further zoomed in on to detect specific patterns.
This method can be used for appropriate identification of pigmentary lesions, vascular lesions, malignancies, hair shaft disorders, cornification disorders, common growths... practically every skin, hair and nail disorder. Certain conditions that have been misdiagnosed for years can be managed correctly under the guidance of a dermatoscope.
Certain terms that are referred to as a dermoscopic features include reticular pattern, spikes, red/blue globules, scar-like depigmented area, vascular network, and so on. It takes the skill of an experienced physician to identify the pattern and thereby the correct diagnosis.
What qualifies as an odd mole?
An atypical or odd mole is classed as a dark lesion that appears different from other moles by features such as varying pigmentation, size, rate of growth, or intermittent bleeding. A benign mole may be left unattended whereas an atypical mole requires complete removal for deeper examination of the tissue. Use of a dermatoscope identifies malignant lesions more specifically while reducing the apprehension over common benign lesions.
Dr Shamma Aboobacker (MD Dvl, MSc Clinical Dermatology, MBBS) who is a Specialist Dermatologist and has undergone extensive training in Dermoscopy and Trichoscopy from UK, UAE and India. Recognizing the specific patterns will narrow down on a precise diagnosis and leave you keen to step on to treatment. She practices at Al Arif Heart and Children medical center on all weekdays.
This information is brought to you by Specialized doctors in Al Arif Heart and Children Medical Center, Al Mujarrah, Sharjah, UAE. Keep yourselves fit as a fiddle.