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October 1999

On Standard Dermatology Definitions

Author Affiliations

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Arch Dermatol. 1999;135(10):1273. doi:10-1001/pubs.Arch Dermatol.-ISSN-0003-987x-135-10-dlt1099

As one with a trifling knowledge and experience1-5 on the topic of this communication, I wish to encourage those who have written letters in the May 1998 issue of the ARCHIVES to continue with their efforts.

What must be realized, though, is that we are dealing with concepts, not words. For example, it is unrealistic to hope to define terms such as papule, pustule, vesicle, bulla, etc in 2 or 3 lines. In my recently published text,6 I have included overviews at the beginning of each morphological chapter. The overview on papules is 5 pages long; on pustules, 1 1/2 pages; on vesicles, 3 pages; and on bullae, 3 pages. Only after a detailed elaboration of what each word means can we try to make short, clear-cut definitions that are impeccably precise and demonstrate visual literacy.

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