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Research Letter
September 2013

Effects of Ex Vivo Skin Microbiopsy on Histopathologic Diagnosis in Melanocytic Skin Lesions

Author Affiliations
  • 1Dermatology Research Centre, The University of Queensland, School of Medicine, Translational Research Institute, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  • 2Department of Anatomical Pathology, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
JAMA Dermatol. 2013;149(9):1107-1109. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2013.5020

Currently, histopathologic analysis represents the practical reference standard for the diagnosis of melanocytic skin lesions. However, there are limitations particularly related to the morphologic nature of the histopathologic interpretation and the influence of the clinical information on the final diagnosis.1 To provide lesional tissue from melanocytic proliferations for molecular analysis without jeopardizing the conventional histopathologic diagnosis, we invented a miniaturized biopsy device with a total width of 0.35 mm, containing a sample chamber 0.15 mm wide. This device penetrates approximately 250 µm in healthy skin (ie, superficial dermis) to collect approximately 1600 cells.2 This microbiopsy device can be used without local anesthetic, and there is no need for a suture. Our hypothesis is that the minimal skin damage caused by the microbiopsy does not interfere with the subsequent histopathologic diagnosis.