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Book and New Media Reviews
July 2000

An Atlas of Histopathology of Skin Diseases: An Illustrated Textbook and Reference for Clinicians

Author Affiliations

Copyright 2000 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2000

Arch Dermatol. 2000;136(7):944. doi:

The past few years have brought many new dermatopathology atlases to the bookshelf. One of the few recent additions that is not a companion volume to a dermatopathology textbook is David T. Shum and Lyn C. Guenther's An Atlas of Histopathology of Skin Diseases: An Illustrated Textbook and Reference for Clinicians. The book is a well-made, excellent, and relatively inexpensive introduction to basic dermatopathology in a format particularly suited for self testing.

The book is arranged in 36 chapters and emphasizes diseases that one is likely to encounter in everyday practice. Except for the first chapter, which is an outstanding introduction to types of biopsy specimens, the steps in tissue processing, and special stains, the book is organized by "a visual and text-based differential diagnostic approach." Each chapter involves a specific microscopic feature such as acantholysis, mucin deposition, or suprabasal vesicles and bullae, and is subdivided depending on additional microscopic findings. At the beginning of each section, a few paragraphs nicely summarize the key points for each feature. The photographs are arranged in a single column on the right of each page, a format that makes it easy to test oneself by covering up the text on the left side. The text itself is in outline "bullet" form. There is a useful index at the back of the book, and the introduction to each section provides a well-written overview of key issues.