Within the past 15 years, dermoscopy has become a widely used non-invasive technique for physicians to better visualize pigmented lesions. Dermoscopy has helped trained physicians to better diagnose pigmented lesions. Now, the digital revolution is beginning to enhance standard dermoscopic procedures.
Using digital dermoscopy, physicians are better able to document pigmented lesions for patient follow-up and to get second opinions, either through teledermoscopy with an expert colleague or by using computer-assisted diagnosis. As the market for digital dermoscopy products begins to grow, so do the number of decisions physicians need to make when choosing a system to fit their needs. The current market for digital dermoscopy includes two varieties of relatively simple and cheap attachments which can convert a consumer digital camera into a digital dermoscope. A coupling adapter acts as a fastener between the camera and an ordinary dermoscope, whereas a dermoscopy attachment includes the dermoscope optics and light source and can be attached directly to the camera. Other options for digital dermoscopy include complete dermoscopy systems that use a hand-held video camera linked directly to a computer. These systems differ from each other in whether or not they are calibrated as well as the quality of the camera and software interface. Another option in digital skin imaging involves spectral analysis rather than dermoscopy.
This article serves as a guide to the current systems available and their capabilities.