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December 2001

Dermoscopy and Early Diagnosis of Melanoma: The Light and the Dark

Arch Dermatol. 2001;137(12):1641-1644. doi:10.1001/archderm.137.12.1641

DERMOSCOPY (dermatoscopy, epiluminescence microscopy, and surface microscopy) became popular in recent years because of its possible role in noninvasive diagnosis of pigmented skin lesions. The number of publications about dermoscopy in indexed journals increased from 16 in the period from 1987 to 1993 to 76 in 1998 to 2000. Now, there is a progressive increase in the use of this technique in daily practice by dermatologists in many countries, particularly in Europe.

Previous studies have shown that the use of dermoscopy by inexperienced dermatologists lessens their diagnostic precision compared with clinical examination alone, particularly in cases of melanoma.1-4 Therefore, practicing dermatologists should not forget that training and experience are very important for the correct use of dermoscopy. However, the risk-benefit ratio of dermoscopy as a second-level diagnostic procedure in melanoma prevention has not yet been completely evaluated.

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