The utility of digital clinical photographs in dermatopathology

Anneli Fogelberg, Michael Ioffreda, Klaus Helm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Background and Objective: Technological improvements have helped digital cameras become widely available and inexpensive. Dermatopathologic diagnosis is often aided by clinical information. The purpose of this study was to determine whether submitting a digital image along with a skin biopsy provides additional helpful information to the dermatopathologist. Methods: Digital pictures were taken of the lesion being biopsied and were submitted along with routine paper work to the dermatopathologists. The dermatopathologists interpreted the skin biopsy as usual without viewing the digital image, and then later viewed the submitted picture. The dermatopathologists evaluated the help provided by the image. Results: A clinical digital image was helpful in confirming the initial diagnosis and narrowing down the differential diagnosis (p < 0.001). Including pictures did not change the diagnosis, result in an increase in the differential diagnosis, or result in fewer or additional step sections being performed. Digital imaging of inflammatory disorders was felt to be good help in 43% of the biopsies and narrowed down the differential diagnosis in 31%. Conclusion: In certain cases the inclusion of a digital image may help a dermatopathologist. Digital imaging was found to be most helpful in evaluation of inflammatory disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-121
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Dermatology


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