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Surgical Technique
March 2005

Color-Specific Enhancement of Digital Photographs for Identification of the Extent of Cutaneous Malignancy

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Otolaryngology−Head and Neck Surgery, Thomas Jefferson University (Drs Krein, Greenbaum, and Reiter), and Skin and Laser Surgery Center of Pennsylvania (Dr Greenbaum), Philadelphia, Pa.

Correspondence: Howard D. Krein, MD, PhD, Department of Otolaryngology−@Head and Neck Surgery, Thomas Jefferson University, 925 Chestnut St, Sixth Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19107 (howardkrein@yahoo.com).

Arch Facial Plast Surg. 2005;7(2):135-137. doi:10.1001/archfaci.7.2.135

Objectives  To introduce the concept of active digital imaging to the literature and to support further investigation by showing the utility of photochromatography in the identification of cutaneous cancer margins

Methods  Digital color images of 10 cutaneous basal cell carcinomas were digitally enhanced to highlight color change in and around each lesion. After the most intense area of tumor coloration was located and sampled, the color was digitally changed to a sharply contrasting color across the entire region, thereby highlighting abnormal areas not readily seen by the unaided eye. The enhanced areas of predicted tumor extent were compared with digital images of the resulting defect after treatment with Mohs micrographic surgery.

Results  The extent of tumor was predicted with good accuracy in 5 cases and with fair accuracy in 2 cases and was not determinable in the remaining 2 cases. In no case did photochromatography overestimate the extent of the lesion.

Conclusions  Digital highlighting of color change not readily seen by the unaided eye (photochromatography) can improve identification and localization of cutaneous tumor. Our findings justify further investigation into algorithms for photographic color detection and enhancement in the evaluation of tissue change.