What is Dermoscopy and How Does It Work?

Dermoscopy is a noninvasive procedure for diagnosing various kinds of skin conditions and skin lesions. The treatment allows the in vivo examination of microstructures and colours of the epidermis, the dermo-epidermal junction, and the papillary dermis which is not visible to the naked eye. Dermatoscopes are traditionally designed to aid dermatologists to see details which a doctor cannot see with the naked eye.

Dermoscopy, also known as dermatoscopy, incident light microscopy, epiluminescence microscopy, or skin surface microscopy, has been shown to increase the clinician’s diagnostic accuracy when evaluating cutaneous neoplasms. The process is conducted through the use of a handheld instrument called dermatoscope, whereby a transilluminating light and standard magnifying optics are utilised in order to examine below skin surface which can be magnified tenfold. Many medical suppliers provide wide selections of dermatoscope that help medical experts in performing dermoscopy.

Importance of Dermoscopy

The incidence rate of cutaneous melanoma has greatly increased than for any other cancer in the past few decades. Amid the advanced medical technology we have right now, advanced melanoma is still practically incurable. Medical experts and scientific studies have found that a favourable prognosis still heavily relies on specific prevention and early detection. Thus, detection in the initial stage is

This has been attributed partly to a real change in the incidence rate of the disease and partly to greater surveillance. Unfortunately, advanced melanoma is still practically incurable, and a favourable prognosis depends on specific prevention and early detection. Recognition in the initial stage is presently the ultimate element to yield a successful recovery.

Dermoscopy is an excellent tool to evaluate definitive distinguishing patterns related to the distribution of colors and dermoscopy structures which helps in differentiating a malignant from a benign skin condition. Indeed, the utilization of dermoscopy would not practically yield a one hundred percent accurate details, but this results will certainly guide your physician to formulate a more complete list of diagnosis or an evaluation towards your way from a biopsy.

Benefits of Dermoscopy

As discussed, the early recognition of skin cancer is very important to the overall patient health outcomes. Within these various techniques, certain methods, such as dermoscopy, are non-invasive solutions used for skin cancer early detection. Aside from its non-invasive character, dermoscopy provides a wide range of benefits which include:

  • enhanced diagnosis accuracy;
  • polarizing imaging;
  • enhanced image magnification; and
  • portable and affordable purchase options.

These are just some of the primary advantages of dermoscopy for both patients and medical practitioners. As a matter of fact, melanoma treatment has a ninety-eight percent cure rate if it is caught in its earliest form, and if it is not caught early and spreads, the survival rate at five years goes down below twenty percent so many petitioners strongly recommend this life-saving medical procedure.

The evaluation of definitive differentiating patterns related to the dermoscopy arrangement and distribution of colors can better classified as a benign or malignant pigmented skin condition. It is very beneficial to attach the dermatoscopes to a camera or a smartphone to see a larger image on the screen and to capture the image for evaluation during the patient visit and after a biopsy result is available. While using the dermatoscope is not a hundred percent precise, it may still help the medical practitioner to come up with a more complete list of diagnosis or steer the evaluation towards your way from a biopsy.

How Does Dermoscopy Work?

Essentially, dermoscopy is a medical assessment of the skin surface using a dermatoscope. Before conducting the medical procedure, the physician will first make an evaluation of the patient’s overall health status. After the medical checkup and after making sure that dermoscopy is proper, the physician will relay this medical details to the patient so the latter could make the necessary preparation.

During the assessment, the pigmented skin area will be covered with a liquid, such as ultrasound gel or alcohol, to reduce the reactivity of the skin. The liquid interface is important as this will enhance the clearness of the stratum corneum, allowing transparent visualization of specific structures of the epidermis, the papillary dermis, and the dermo-epidermal junction.

After applying the appropriate amount of liquid to the skin, the dermatoscope can now be placed on top of the lesion and gently pressed against the skin; it is essential that enough pressure is applied to phase out air bubbles. There are three types of dermoscopic techniques currently utilised which include:

  1. polarized contact;
  2. classic or standard contact; and
  3. polarized non-contact

According to some scientific reports, polarized dermoscopy provides higher reactivity for detecting skin cancer due to its particularization to magnify crystalline and vascular structures. Non-polarized dermoscopy, on the other hand, enhance particularity as it permits better visualisation of other structures commonly detected in benign lesions. In general, both polarized and nonpolarized dermoscopy produce complementary information.


Early detection of cancer greatly increases the chances for successful treatment. According to reports, the incidence rate of cutaneous melanoma has significantly increased in the past few years more than for any other type of cancer. Unfortunately, advanced melanoma cannot be cured by treatment in most cases as of now but there are some ways that can greatly help alleviate the pain as well as help a patient live longer. Dermoscopy is one of these ways and it has proven its contribution to both medical experts and patients through the years. Combined with a comprehensive skin cancer examination, dermoscopy is saving lives by identifying melanoma in its initial stage- one tested factor for a complete recovery of a skin cancer patient.

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