Dermoscopy comes of age in 2021

The dermatoscope can be a vital aid in the rapid evaluation of patients with complex presentations and broad differential diagnoses.


Michelle B. Tarbox, MD, FAAD
Michelle B. Tarbox, MD, FAAD

The dermatoscope can be a valuable tool to evaluate not only cutaneous neoplasia, but also inflammatory conditions, infections, and infestations.

These possibilities will be elaborated on in detail by Michelle B. Tarbox, MD, FAAD, associate professor of dermatology at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, when she presents "Dermoscopy in 2021" (U022) tomorrow afternoon.

The session promises to develop a more up-to-date understanding of how to use dermoscopy to diagnose a variety of infectious, inflammatory, and neoplastic conditions in clinical practice. Attendees will be provided with case-based questions to assess their competence.

Dr. Tarbox spoke to DW Meeting News in an exclusive interview in advance of her session.

“The use of dermoscopy has been expanded to assist in the diagnosis of cutaneous infections and cutaneous infestations,” Dr. Tarbox said. “The dermatoscope can be a vital aid in the rapid evaluation of patients with complex presentations and broad differential diagnoses.”

Dr. Tarbox hopes her presentation will inspire dermatologists to see more potential for the diagnostic tool. “I hope all dermatologists will fully embrace the valuable asset that dermoscopy represents to our practice and utilize it to its full capacity to help evaluate skin conditions of all types,” she said. “Attendees will learn how to distinguish between ectothrix and endothrix tinea capitus utilizing their dermatoscope. They will also learn how to utilize the dermatoscope to identify and characterize cutaneous infestations and a variety of cutaneous infections. Appropriate device hygiene will also be discussed.”

Dr. Tarbox said she was grateful for the opportunity to teach her colleagues about new and innovative ways to use their dermatoscope to expand and improve their clinical practice in multiple ways.

“The use of a dermatoscope improves our clinical diagnostic skills and also improves patients’ perceptions of the quality of their care,” Dr. Tarbox said. “Continual review of the dermoscopic images along with the histologic diagnoses can help even experienced dermatologists continue to refine and expand their clinical skill set.”

Her examination of the topic has led to a greater appreciation for its multifaceted utilization.

“I like to think of dermoscopy as helping me provide 360-degree care,” she said. “The patient's clinical presentation, coupled with the dermoscopy — which is really a representation of the enface histology — and then further refined through routine histology provides a more complete way for us to fully understand the clinical lesions we are presented with. I look forward to a fruitful, fun, and educational session!”