Mole checkup – Dermoscopy

Dermoscopy, or mole checkup is simple and uninvasive, easy to perform and very useful method to establish a more reliable diagnose of pigment lesions or moles, and especially differ melanoma from other, benign pigment changes of skin.

Dermoscopy is, essentially, the process of skin surface microscopy. It is simple, fast, it increases the visibility of all changes and allows for a reliable diagnosis to be reached. The device being used is a dermoscope, it is equipped with an adequate optical system of lenses and is a source of polarized light. There is a possibility of recording the image made during the examination – this is called digital dermoscopy. The photographs are stored in the our database, and they can be used to monitor the changes and make comparisons after a certain amount of time.

dermoscopy mole check

Why is dermoscopy done?

Clinical reliability of diagnosing melanoma with “the naked eye” is estimated at 65%, and a dermoscopy checkup significantly raises this reliability to 90%. This examination of pigment changes, plays a more prominent role in early melanoma detection without a doubt. Also, it is possible to use this method for early detection of other skin tumors.

Which types of changes can be diagnosed by using dermoscopy?

Dermoscopy is an indispensable method for examining pigmentary changes on the skin – moles, and for early melanoma detection.

Melanoma is an aggressive carcinoma with a high mortality rate in cases when diagnosed at a late stage. Before the use of dermoscopy, melanoma was impossible to diagnose at an early phase, which is crucial for survival. Due to the use of dermoscopy in Western European countries, as many as 80% of melanoma cases are diagnosed at a very early stage, when the chances for curing the disease are high. Every year, there are 500 new cases of melanoma diagnosed in our country, and only 40% are superficial or were detected early. Dermoscopic analysis of atypical moles is the basis for suspecting melanoma, and the definitive diagnosis is reached through a histopathological analysis of the surgically removed skin changes.

Moles – due to an increased incidence of skin tumors, a self-examination of moles on the whole body is advised once every three months, and a preventive dermoscopic examination is advised once per year. Persons belonging to very high risk categories should have a dermoscopic examination more often, every 6-12 months. These are persons who have more than 50 moles, persons with atypical or dysplastic moles, persons with a family history or personal history of melanoma, persons older than 50 years of age with severe solar damage to the skin.

Dermoscopy is useful in diagnosing and differentiating basal-cell carcinoma, seborrheic keratosis, hemangiomas, dermatofibromas and other skin changes.

Which moles require dermoscopic examination?

Dermoscopy is needed for every mole that is changing and growing rapidly. It is also necessary when a mole changes its shape – when a mole becomes asymmetrical, when the edges of a mole become jagged and irregular, when two or more colors appear on a mole (light and dark brown, several shades of blue, red and black). Moles which carry a risk are also those rising above the skin level over time. Any sort of change on the skin, whether pigmented or non-pigmented, which grows fast and changes appearance requires a dermoscopic examination and, potentially, surgical removal and histopathological analysis.

Why is dermoscopic monitoring of certain moles necessary?

Some moles have an atypical appearance, but they do not have clear dermoscopic characteristics indicating melanoma. Comparative monitoring of the changes of the mole over a certain period of time is advised in such cases. By comparing the images of a mole after three, six or nine months, a dermatologist can make a decision on the necessity of removing the mole and performing a histopathological analysis.

More about moles you can read in another article.

What is a dermoscopic map?

A dermoscopic map is a dermoscopic examination of all moles on the body, and it includes marking and recording the moles. After a certain period of time, determined by the dermatologist, new dermoscopic images are made and they are compared to the images made previously. This way, it is possible to monitor all moles and their evolution, and to notice new pigmentary changes.
Everyone can undergo dermoscopic mapping, and it is particularly useful for those persons in the high risk categories: more than 50 moles, atypical moles, high sun exposure, positive anamnesis for carcinoma.

When is dermoscopy needed in children?

Children need dermoscopy in cases of congenital moles, especially those with a radius greater than 10cm. New moles in children, both pigmented and non-pigmented (pink colored), which grow very fast, require a dermoscopic examination.

What does a dermoscopy checkup look like?

The moles checkup itself is performed very simply, it is painless, and the produced image is possible to store in the computer, after a while compare with an earlier dermoscopy image or send it to another dermatologist for additional expertise.

Considering an increasing frequency of skin tumors, we advise the patients to consult a dermatologist at least once a year and examine all of their moles in a dermatoscopy checkup. Also, if the dermatologist determines that the mole needs to be removed, do the mole removal procedure as soon as possible.

Spec. Dr. Svetlana Djurisic, dermatologist
Dermatological clinic DERMATIM, Belgrade, Serbia

In our practice mole examination is performed by three doctors with the following certificates:

spec.dr dermatovenerologist Svetlana Djurišić

2005:  International dermoscopy course
2006:  Advanced dermoscopy course
2011:  High international dermoscopy course – Dr Giuseppe Argenziano
2011:  Contemporary dermoscopy diagnostics – Dr Giuseppe Argenziano

spec.dr dermatovenerologist Sladjana Cvejić

2008:  International dermoscopy course
2010:  Advanced dermoscopy course
2011:  High international dermoscopy course – Dr Giuseppe Argenziano
2011:  Contemporary dermoscopy diagnostics – Dr Giuseppe Argenziano

spec.dr dermatovenerologist Biljana Janus Lazić

2012:  International dermoscopy course
2012:  Advanced dermoscopy course
2013:  International dermoscopy course – Dr Guiseppe Argenziano, Dr Iris Zalaudek