Overview of the use of dermoscopy in academic and non-academic hospital centres in France: a nationwide survey


  • Conflicts of interest

    • L Thomas is co-author of a dermoscopy textbook and responsible of the University degree in dermoscopy at Lyon 1 University. Administrative, technical or material support: Luc Thomas. Study supervision: Mona Amini-Adle, Luc Thomas.

    Funding sources

    • This work is supported in part by grants from Lyon 1 University (to LT), the Hospices Civils de Lyon (to LT) and the Ligue contre le cancer du Rhône (to LT). Administrative, technical or material support: L Thomas. Study supervision: L Thomas.
    • This study has not been registered in a public trial registry because it does not ‘prospectively assigns human subjects to intervention or comparison groups to evaluate the cause and effect relationship between a medical intervention and a health outcome’.



Dermoscopy is acknowledged to improve the diagnostic accuracy of melanoma by several concordant meta-analyses. However, the use of dermoscopy was not considered as a high level of evidence diagnostic tool by French Health Authorities. However, as shown in Australian, American and in our recent surveys, dermoscopy is used by most of dermatologists in private practice.


To analyse the use, beliefs, teaching given and research produced in dermoscopy in dermatology departments of French hospitals.


A questionnaire about the use, available equipment, teaching activities and published research on dermoscopy was mailed to all chairmen of dermatology departments in French both academic and non-academic hospitals.


Seventy-six of 110 mailed questionnaires were returned. The majority of centres claimed to use dermoscopy (97.5%), but it seemed heterogeneous among practitioners according to their age and position. The use of dermoscopy was four times higher in non-academic centres (P = 0.015). Centres located in the south east of France were higher users comparing with others (P = 0.004). Earlier detection of melanoma was the most important advantage reported. Excessive training time was the most important reported disadvantage. Twenty-five percent of centres had dedicated clinics for pigmented lesions. Few centres (14.5%) run formal dermoscopy training programs. Most centres (74.7%) declared a use of dermoscopy for the diagnosis of non-tumoral diseases.


This is the first European study evaluating the use of dermoscopy among hospital. Despite a large use, dermoscopy-dedicated teaching and research time appeared to be insufficient.