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February 1976

Transillumination as Diagnostic Aid

Author Affiliations


Arch Dermatol. 1976;112(2):262. doi:10.1001/archderm.1976.01630260062018

To the Editor.—  In some areas of the body where transillumination can be done, point transillumination aids in the diagnosis of basal cell carcinoma. The invasive tumor cords make for better transmission of light.Because of the sebaceous gland structures of the nose, the differential diagnosis of skin lesions near the tip is often difficult. In our experience, this is the area of the highest failure rate of differential diagnosis. Cysts, fibromas, inflammatory nodules, deep dermal nevi, and sarcoids are some of the lesions considered in the differential diagnosis. Yet, this is one of the so-called vital facial zones where an early diagnosis, especially of sclerosing basal cell carcinoma, must be made.Transillumination1 is a technique that may help in this area before the biopsy is done. The optical characteristics of the skin are changed by cords of basal cells infiltrating the dermis. These cords make for better transmission

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