Dermoscopy (dermatoscopy) is a painless, non-invasive microscopic examination of the skin, which does not require a skin biopsy. It is intermediate examination that involves a normal clinical assessment and a histopathological examination of skin.
Dermoscopy offers the possibility of viewing the skin in a ten-to-ten-fold magnification and in lighting, which allows the dermatologist to see the deeper structures of the epidermis.
Dermoscopy is commonly used to assess pigmented nevi, commonly referred to as moles. This method increases the ability to recognize melanoma at a very early stage of development, where this cancer can be easily cured. In addition, dermoscopy makes it easier to distinguish melanoma from other harmless lesions on the skin.
Computer dermoscopy (videodermoscopy) is becoming more and more widely used in dermatology. This method has the additional advantage of showing the examined part of the skin on the computer screen and allows for saving this image in electronic form. This is particularly important in the study of patients who have a lot of pigmented nevi. During control examinations, carried out once a year, it is possible to compare the appearance of each mole to its appearance in previous years. If the birthmark grows or changes, the dermatologist may decide to remove it. Videodermoscopy is worth doing in the same dermatology office so that it is possible to compare the signs to those that are already in the database. It is also worth asking the doctor whether he is saving marks in the database. The visualization of a mark on a computer screen is not tantamount to the fact that it has been cataloged and saved.
Dermoscopy can predict whether a small nevi may develop into melanoma with up to 95% accuracy. There may always be lesions that do not fulfil all melanoma criteria in dermoscopy, but because of some melanoma characteristics, they raise concern . Such lesions are always preventively removed.
The price of dermoscopic examination for pigmented nevi depends on the number of lesions with a range between 250 to 600 PLN.
Recently, dermoscopy has become a diagnostic method widely used also in other areas of dermatology. It gives you not only the ability to study pigmented birthmarks and early detection of melanoma, but also to watch almost all other skin lesions. This method can be used for the study of capillaroscopy (examination of blood vessels of the nail shaft) in people with suspected Raynaud’s disease, scleroderma or dermatomyositis. Dermoscopy can also be used to view the hair follicles, and in the video-onodoscopic examination, hair diameter can be measured, which is used in some cases of diagnostic problems related to hair diseases.