The new kid on the block in physical diagnosis? Introducing digital microscopy

Sody A. Naimer

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


    Emerging microprocessor technology has revolutionized all aspects of life in the modern era. Feats previously achieved through sophisticated, cumbersome and expensive devices are currently both commonplace and feasible with convenient instruments available at low-cost. Body surface inspection can prove very challenging when seeking minute alterations of anatomy and miniature inflicting culprits. USB (universal serial bus) dermatoscopy (UD) is the most economical and widespread technique widely utilized in industry and even lay use but inadeqautely addressed in the field of medicine. This manuscript provides a preliminary exposure of UD to those unfamiliar with this technique and demonstrates its merits improving patient care. UD constitutes an ideal method to magnify, up to over 100 fold, minute detail and project images on a screen of choice, be it a laptop, tablet or standard smartphone. Clinical practice, especially in rural areas, has much to gain from a device that can expose illusive clinical detail that is imperceptible by the naked eye. The basis of the technique is described and genuine cases where it was utilized are shared. Personal experience with this technique demonstrates that employing ample magnification and thorough illumination facilitates reaching the correct diagnosis whenever physical examination of the superficial body surface is necessary. Body regions amenable for improved visualization with this method extend from scalp hair, skin and ocular structures, all the way to the anal sphincter. The objective of this paper is to familiarize physicians with the advantages of digital microscopy through numerous clinical illustrations, as: characterization and surveillance of lesions, sores, cutaneous and corneal foreign bodies, painful conditions of the nipple, hematomas retained sutures, secretions and purulent lesions. This introduction is hoped to arouse enthusiasm towards digital microscopy and encourage its adoption into routine practice.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)192-197
    Number of pages6
    JournalPostgraduate Medicine
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - 17 Feb 2020


    • Digital microscopy
    • USB dermatoscopy
    • body surface
    • examination
    • illuminated magnification
    • video dermoscopy

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Medicine


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