"Seeing Is Believing": Dermatoscope facilitated breast examination of the breastfeeding woman with nipple pain

Sody A. Naimer, William F. Silverman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: It is well recognized that breastmilk provides optimal nutrition and immunological protection for infants. Many women, however, experience nipple pain while breastfeeding, leading to premature cessation of nursing. To overcome these difficulties, timely diagnosis is crucial to effectively treat the underlying pathology and permit resumption of breastfeeding. Examination of the superficial breast plays a key role in accurate diagnosis. Traditional direct inspection is clearly inadequate for this task. Materials and Methods: The dermatoscope is a useful tool, enlarging and illuminating an area of epidermis to obtain an optimal image. Improvements in dermoscopy involving polarization obviate the need for full contact with the examined surface, thereby providing anatomical detail in three dimensions. Results: A novel practice presented in this article features clinical cases introducing this technique as it is applied to the lactating breast, conclusively distinguishing normal from abnormal and illustrating the efficacy and added diagnostic value of this approach. The dermoscope is shown to facilitate identification of the causes of nipple pain ranging from asymptomatic candidal infection to exquisitely painful, minute traumatic erosions, aiding, thereby, in diagnosis of the underlying causes of nursing difficulties. Improved wound surveillance and standardization for purposes of research documentation are additional benefits anticipated with the use of breast dermoscopy. Conclusions: We conclude that real-time, high-quality, magnified imaging of the lactating breast represents a recognizable advance in pursuit of a rapid and accurate technique that aids in the identification of the factors responsible for lesions affecting nursing women. Moreover, it features an already existing technology requiring little training at a reasonable cost.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)356-360
Number of pages5
JournalBreastfeeding Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics
  • Health Policy
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Maternity and Midwifery


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