is the simplest and best-recognized piece of equipment used to perform
a dermoscopy examination. It is similar to an otoscope, is user
friendly, and is inexpensive. This optical system''s features include
monocular observation, magnification X10, and the use of an
illumination system (3.5-V halogen lamp).
Another optical instrument, the stereomicroscope ,
allows an accurate binocular observation with different magnifications
(X6-80). The illumination system includes a halogen lamp (12 V/50 W).
The stereomicroscope is expensive, is large and bulky, and is only
available in a few centers.
From an empiric point of view, visualization is better than
with the dermatoscope, but formal studies of the differences in
diagnostic features and accuracy of the 2 instruments have never been
Features of another optical system, the videodermatoscope, include a video probe that transmits images of the PSL to a color monitor.
The recent addition of a digital system to the stereomicroscope, also termed the digital epiluminescence microscope,
and/or to the videodermatoscope has opened a new area of development
with the advantages of computerized technology. However, the
technologic features (which are cost dependent) of the camera
(single-chip video charge-coupled device, 3-chip charge-coupled device,
or still digital;),
optical system, monitor, digitized board, and software can influence
the resolution and quality of the images. These features can strongly
influence the evaluation of a PSL; a low-resolution instrument may
prevent accurate diagnosis.