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March 1960

The Importance of Cytology Technic for the Dermatologist in Office Practice

Author Affiliations


From the Department of Dermatology, College of Medicine, University of Cincinnati. Presented at the meeting of the Noah Worcester Dermatological Society, April 8, 1959.

AMA Arch Derm. 1960;81(3):359-368. doi:10.1001/archderm.1960.03730030017002

Although Tzanck reported his cyto-diagnostic studies around 1947, this technic was not used widely in this country until the work of Harvey Blank and his collaborators in 1951.1 Since that time, this procedure has been shown to be of value. Many dermatologists believe that the cytological examination is of academic interest primarily, and concerned chiefly with investigative studies. It is, however, an excellent diagnostic tool in routine dermatologic office practice.

Our studies are based on a four-year period of experience with this procedure. The technical phases of this examination are of importance; adherence to these details will spell the difference between success and failure. Here again, as with many laboratory reports, the negative test is often, but not always, of questionable value. One must be trained in the interpretation of the smears, otherwise one can miss important details.

The technical phases of the procedure begin with the selection of