INFORMATION ABOUT DERMATOSCOPY
The development and widespread use of the dermatoscope has strongly influenced the early detection and prevention of skin cancer. In fact, a personal story from our company founder, Helmut A. Heine, helped contribute to this: in 1989, he accompanied his wife when she had a conspicuous lesion examined. He noticed that the examination methods being used at that time had considerable shortcomings with respect to brightness, sharpness, and handling. With the help of Dr Otto Braun-Falco, the first hand-held dermatoscope, the DELTA10, was developed.
Since then, the dermatoscope has become an indispensable component in dermatological diagnoses both for dermatologists and for general practitioners. Our dermatology website offers informative posts and exclusive downloads, as well as information on the latest dermatological products.
Incident microscopy methods
Various diagnostic methods are used in dermatoscopy. A well-established technique is the so-called contact dermatoscopy, where a contact plate (made of glass or plastic) is directly placed on the skin lesion which is to be examined. Applying an additional contact fluid reduces reflections and improves the diagnosis.
Non-contact dermatoscopy provides significant benefits when the use of a contact plate is not possible (e.g. for difficult to access lesions). The use of polarisation filters allows an easier differentiation of detailed structures.
Now, there are also combined dermatoscopes on the market. They can be used as classic contact dermatoscope but also as non-contact dermatoscope.
Indications of dermatoscopy
Dermatoscopy has its main indications in the diagnosis and differentiation of skin lesions in the frame of a skin cancer screening. The dermatoscope is however, increasingly used to diagnose other skin diseases. Due to its handiness, it can be quickly used anywhere and anytime and offers significant benefits when examining skin changes that the naked eye cannot see.
Splinter haemorrhage of viral verrucae can, for example, be easily differentiated from foreign bodies or corns. After removing ticks, it is easier to identify whether the tick’s mouth parts were left behind in the skin. In addition, possible thread remainders after removing stitches can be identified better.
Dermatoscopes with a larger magnification help not only to detect burrows of itch mites (scabies) but also the mite itself. Smaller nits can be clearly differentiated from resisting scales. The non-contact dermatoscope HEINE NC1 also helps to prevent nosocomial infections.
In hair diagnostics (trichology) hair roots can be assessed and in the case of spot baldness (alopecia areata), the area of hair loss can be clearly distinguished from scarring alopecia. Dermatoscopy can also be used in nail diagnostic, for example for haemorrhages.
Skin changes with classic skin diseases such as atopic eczema, psoriasis, rosacea or lichen ruber often show clinical aspects which can be better diagnosed with a dermatoscope, for example the typically fine lacework of white papules and lines (Wickham Striae) of lichen ruber.