Melanocytic Lesions

The dermatological term “melanocytic lesion” is used to describe a region of skin that differs in colour from the surrounding area. Melanocytes – pigment cells in skin – are responsible for the mostly brownish discolouration. This discolouration often is nothing more than a benign mole (nevus) or a so-called “age spot” that are frequently found in great numbers over the entire body. However, if such a spot develops into malignant melanoma, a quick response is indicated. The chances for a cure are best when detected early; therapeutic options are severely limited and the disease can be fatal once cells have metastasised and cancer is in the advanced stages.

Malignant or Benign?

Skin cancer screenings, therefore, benefit greatly from distinguishing in vivo a harmless nevus from the malignant variety. The VivaScope 1500 and the VivaScope 3000 allow dermatologists to examine and diagnose living tissue promptly, non-invasively, and accurately in the comfort of their private offices or in a clinical setting. Physicians utilising images produced by laser scanning microscopy can achieve an accuracy of up to 95% in the diagnosis and analysis of malignant melanomas and other malignant skin tumours. Unnecessary scars and excisions are avoided which means the unchanged tissue is still available for subsequent accurate analyses. In addition to using the VivaScope devices, all traditional methods of assessing melanocytic lesions continue to be possible: modified specimen analysis, ABCD rule of dermatoscopy, analysis according to Menzies, or the 7-point checklist.

Safe and Reliable Diagnosis with the VivaScope

If the patient is to be monitored further, the saved images make it possible to continuously monitor the skin symptom in question. If the evaluation of the images produced by the VivaScope confirms the suspicion of a malignant change, the histological ex vivo examination yields final diagnostic certainty. The patient is spared numerous uncomfortable and frequently unnecessary biopsies.

The VivaScope 1500 is especially well-suited for use in easily accessible regions such as the back of the hand or the back.
The VivaScope 3000, a hand-held unit, facilitates the assessment of skin changes in difficult to reach skin regions – such as behind the knee – in a manner comfortable for physician and patient alike.

[1] Pellacani G, Cesinaro AM, Seidenari S: “Reflectance-Mode Confocal Microscopy of Pigmented Skin Lesions – Improvement in Melanoma Diagnostic Specificity.” J Am Acad Dermatol. Dec 2005; 53(6): 979-85.
[2] Armin Gerger, Marco Wiltgen, Uwe Langsenlehner, Erika Richtig, Michael Horn, Wolfgang Weger, Verena Ahlgrimm-Siess, Rainer Hofmann-Wellenhof, Hellmut Samonigg, Josef Smolle: “Diagnostic image analysis of malignant melanoma in vivo confocal laser-scanning microscopy: a preliminary study.” Skin Research and Technology 2008; doi:10.1111/j.1600-0846.2008.00303.x.
[3] Langley R.G.B, Walsh N, Sutherland A.E, Propperova I, Delaney L, Morris S.F, Gallant C: “The Diagnostic Accuracy of In Vivo Confocal Scanning Laser Microscopy Compared to Dermoscopy of Benign and Malignant Melanocytic Lesions: A Prospective Study.” Dermatology 2007; 215: 365-372; doi: 10.1159/000109087.
[4] Ahlgrimm-Siess V, Massone C, Fink-Puches R, Richtig E, Wolf I, Gerger A, Rainer Hofmann-Wellenhof: “In vivo confocal scanning laser microscopy of common nevi with globular homogeneous and reticular pattern in dermoscopy.” Br J Dermatol; 2008 May; 158(5): 1000-7.

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