The utility of elastic Verhoeff-Van Gieson staining in dermatopathology


Dirk M. Elston, MD

Ackerman Academy of Dermatopathology, 145

East 32nd Street, New York, NY, USA

Tel: +1 800 553 6621

Fax: +1 212 889 8268



Elastic fibers are important components of the skin and are responsible for skin elasticity. Genetic defects are well-known in numerous hereditary elastic tissue disorders and skin biopsies are often the first step in the evaluation of those disorders. Verhoeff-Van Gieson elastic staining is a simple method that is used for visualizing elastic fibers. With the development of modern immunohistochemical methods, the value of routine histochemical staining is sometimes underestimated. Histochemical stains are less expensive, easy to perform and help to resolve numerous diagnostic quandaries in dermatopathology. This article focuses on the value of elastic tissue staining in dermatopathology, with a focus on primary elastic tissue disorders, alopecia, inflammatory skin disorders and neoplastic proliferations.