The role of various immersion liquids at digital dermoscopy in structural analysis

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Authors: Levent Tasli and Oya Oguz
Date: January-February 2011
Publisher: Medknow Publications and Media Pvt. Ltd.
Document Type: Report
Length: 2,686 words
Lexile Measure: 1540L

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Byline: Levent. Tasli, Oya. Oguz

Background: Dermoscopy is a useful method that allows dermal and epidermal structures to be easily analysed non-invasively. Aim: In this study, immersion oil, which is widely used in dermoscopy, and ultrasound gel, which is less preferred, are evaluated comparatively in terms of displaying structural parameters and number of air bubbles in the image. Methods: A total of 71 nevomelanocytic or non-melanocytic pigmented lesions were taken up for this study. Structural characteristics of the obtained images were assessed by an experienced observer who scored the images in terms of color, pigment network, globule, vascular structure, number of air bubbles and other pigmentation parameters. Results: In the images obtained through immersion oil or ultrasound gel from all of the lesions, no statistical difference was found between the average values of air bubbles and in the evaluation of structural components (t=1.09, P=0.2). In the identification of pigment network in melanocytic lesions, immersion oil was observed to be more appropriate than ultrasound gel (t=0.01, P=0.02). Conclusions: Ultrasound gel may be preferred in the assessment of mucosa and nail bed lesions. Ultrasound gel is a good alternative compared to immersion oil in pigmented skin lesions as it is cheap and easily removable.


Dermoscopy is a non-invasive, simple and cheap technique allowing identification of structures that cannot be seen with the naked eye. It has provided a better understanding for the morphology of pigmented skin lesions. The first-hand dermatoscope was developed in 1989 by Stolz and Braun-Falco. [sup][1] In recent years, dermoscopy has witnessed a rapid technological change. As a result, new, practical and useful digital dermatoscopes have been developed and the data obtained can be easily stored in a computer environment. [sup][2],[3]

In dermoscopic examinations, many physicians generally prefer immersion oil. The use of immersion oil seems to be the unchangeable part of dermoscopy. Nevertheless, the use of numerous immersion liquids has been reported in the literature. [sup][1],[4],[5],[6],[7],[8],[9],[10] Immersion liquids can be divided into four groups: (i) water-based gels, (ii) oils, (iii) disinfectant solutions and (iv) water. The properties expected from an ideal immersion liquid can be summarized as being easily procurable, making structural parameters of the lesion visible well, not changing color, being cheap, containing less air bubbles, not being too quickly volatile, being usable in special locations like circumocular mucosa and not leading to very matte or excessive bright image.

In this study, whichever method is convenient for the identification of some specific structural parameters in the diagnosis of the images obtained from nevomelanocytic non-melanocytic pigmented lesions by using immersion oil and ultrasound gel has been analysed.


A total of 71 pigmented lesions from 31 cases, 17 of which were males and 14 females who applied to Istanbul University, Cerrahpasa Faculty of Medicine, Department of Dermatology, Polyclinic of Pigmented Lesions and Tumour, from the year 2002 to 2005, were taken. Verbal informed consent was obtained from all the participants. Scalar video microscope was used as a digital dermascope and Grimed software 1.2 program was used for...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A246329204