Dermoscopy or mole checkup is a simple method of checking moles and other pigmented skin lesions, and it is invaluable in early detection of melanoma and skin cancers.
Diagnosing melanoma with the “naked eye” during the screening is only 65% reliable, and by dermoscopic screening of moles, it is possible to detect it in 90% of cases.

Dermoscopy is an easy and rapid method of surface microscopy of moles and other pigmented skin lesions. It increases the visibility of all skin lesions, so a reliable diagnosis can be made.
The device that is used is called a dermoscope. It is equipped with a special system of optical lenses and a source of polarised light.
Digital dermoscopy allows for the image seen through a hand dermoscope to be recorded and stored in a database, and then to compare and track changes, after a certain period of time.


What lesons can be diagnosed with dermoscopy?

Dermoscopy is used to examine all pigmented skin lesions for early detection of melanoma and other skin cancers.

Melanoma is a highly malignant tumour, which develops from mole cells. The percentage of mortality from melanoma is high, especially when it is detected late. Without dermoscopy, melanoma can not be detected at an early stage, which is the most important for survival.
Today, in the countries of Western Europe, 80% of melanoma is detected at an early stage, thanks to the use of dermoscopy. Dermoscopic examination of moles is conducted when there is a suspicion of melanoma, while an accurate diagnosis is made based on a histopathological analysis of the surgically removed mole.

Moles — It is advised to have one’s moles checked using dermoscopy once a year, due to the increased incidence of skin tumours and harmful effects of UV radiation.
People with large number of moles (more than 50) on the body, those who have atypical moles or a personal and family history of melanoma, need to undergo a dermoscopy exam more often, every 6 to 12 months.
It is also important for each person to perform mole self-check and if notices a change in mole colour, edges or size, then a dermoscopic examination will be necessary.
Dermoscopy can detect and distinguish seborrheic keratoses, hemangiomas, basal-cell cancers, dermatofibromas and other skin lesions.


For which moles is dermoscopy used?

Dermoscopy is required for every mole that changed its shape, colour and size.
Dermoscopic monitoring is necessary in case an asymmetry appears on a mole, or irregular, toothed edges, as well as more than 2 different colours: brown, black, blue and red.
High risk moles are all those that grow rapidly and change, and they require dermoscopy, surgical removal with pathohistological analysis.

Why do we need a dermoscopic monitoring of some moles?

There are moles that have an atypical appearance, but do not have clear dermoscopic characteristics of melanoma. Such moles require dermoscopic monitoring for a certain period of time. By comparing the dermoscopic images of moles in 3, 6 or 9 months, the dermatologist notices if the mole is stabilised or if it is necessary to remove it surgically with pathohistological analysis.

What is a dermoscopic mapping?

Dermoscopic mapping is a dermoscopic examination of all moles on the body, painting, marking and storing dermoscopic images of the moles. After a certain period of time, the moles can be re-painted, compared and thus adequately monitored. Dermoscopic mapping is recommened for all people, especially for those with a large number of moles, more than 50, for those who have atypical moles, who have been sun exposed a lot or have a history of cancer in the family.

When is dermoscopy needed for children?

Children who have congenital moles, especially those that are more than 10 cm in diameter, should regularly have the moles monitored using dermoscopy. In children, dermoscopy is required for the moles that grow rapidly and change, as well as for unpigmented pink changes that grow rapidly.

Svetlana Đurišić specijalista dermatovenerologije

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