Prevention of Nosocomial Infection During Dermoscopy?


Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Susan C. Kelly, DO, Department of Dermatology, Dartmouth Hitchcock, 590 Court Street, Keene, NH 03431, or e-mail:


BACKGROUND Dermatoscopes are applied directly to cutaneous or mucocutaneous surfaces with immersion fluid (IF) such as oil or alcohol to reduce light reflection. Recently, Staphylococcus aureus has been isolated from dermatosopes that used mineral oil as the IF. Thus, dermatoscopes might be a potential source of nosocomial infection.

OBJECTIVE In this study we propose the use of an alcohol-based antibacterial gel to reduce nosocomial infection transmission while optimizing optical resolution during dermatoscopic examination.

MATERIALS AND METHODS Aerobic bacterial cultures were performed on three dermatoscopes used in an outpatient setting after routine examination of 31 patients with an alcohol-based antibacterial gel as IF.

RESULTS There was no bacterial growth after using the antibacterial gel with the dermatoscopes. The optical resolution for the antibacterial gel appeared equal to the ‘dermatoscopy oil’ and superior to alcohol wipes.

CONCLUSIONS Alcohol-based antibacterial gel appears to inhibit bacterial colonization while offering excellent optical resolution during dermoscopic examination. The use of alcohol-based IF appears to obviate the risk of nosocomial infections.