What is dermoscopy?

Dermoscopy is a specialized technique for examining suspicious skin lesions with a hand held skin surface microscope (dermatoscope ). It allows the doctor to see a living view of x10 to x70 magnification for close inspection of the patterns of simple anomalies and more serious abnormalities under the surface of the skin.

The subtle features seen through the dermatoscope have been carefully researched and better understood over the last two decades. We now know that many skin cancers can be identified earlier and more accurately with a dermatoscope than without such an instrument, providing the doctor is well trained and experienced in dermoscopy.

Importantly, research has shown that doctors skilled at using a dermatoscope will not need to remove as many benign lesions in order to be sure they are not melanomas or other types of skin cancers.

As such, dermoscopy is now regarded as an essential skill for any doctor in diagnosing skin cancers, especially early stage tumors.


Dermoscopy at Level 1 Melanoma

We are using dermoscopy for all of our skin examinations. We have a variety of instruments available depending on the body site and needs. Some of our dermatoscopes are connected to the computer via video link. These images can be displayed, stored and retrieved easily for the doctor to assess changes over time.

Early stage tumors can look like benign lesions. Changes in growth patterns are sometimes the only indication that a lesion might be malignant.

So today more tumors are found in the earliest stages when the typical features of invasion are not present. For the patient, this means more selective and accurate decisions on the ultimate course of a skin abnormality, surgical sampling (biopsy) or complete removal (excision). Dermoscopy

Performed early in the course of disease, surgical removals can be smaller and the survival chance is higher.