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VOLUME 3 , ISSUE 4 ( October-December, 2020 ) > List of Articles

Original Article

Dermoscopic Characteristics of Newly Diagnosed Hansen's Disease: A Prospective Descriptive Study

Roshni Kakitha, Sreedevi Ambujam

Citation Information : Kakitha R, Ambujam S. Dermoscopic Characteristics of Newly Diagnosed Hansen's Disease: A Prospective Descriptive Study. 2020; 3 (4):144-147.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10082-02267

License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Published Online: 01-05-2021

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2020; The Author(s).


Background: Dermoscopy is an in vivo, noninvasive technique that is a one-time investment, easy to operate, and permits the visualization of morphologic features of the skin that are not visible to the naked eye. Its usage as a diagnostic tool in Leprosy/Hansen's Disease (HD), an infiltrative disease is largely unexplored worldwide. Aims: To study dermoscopic features of newly diagnosed leprosy, and to compare these features with those of normal skin. Materials and methods: Prospective descriptive study conducted in 33 consecutive newly diagnosed leprosy patients and matched controls over a period of 18 months. Results: Changes in skin pattern were particularly discernible with white light. Yellow dots, white dots, hair density, and pigmentary network were appreciated using polarized light and ultraviolet light highlighted scales. All leprosy patches showed pigmentary dilution. Twenty-two of the 33 patients showed skin pattern loss both in the center and margin of the lesion. Perilesional skin showed normal pattern. Loss of skin pattern in comparison with the control group showed statistically significant difference. Ten patients showed patchy loss of skin pattern probably indicating early changes. Lesional skin but not the control skin showed a statistically significant reduction in white dots and hair density. Affected skin showed insignificant reduction in the number of yellow dots, i.e., sebaceous glands. Scaling was present in the margin and absent in the center, perilesional, and control skin. Limitations: The dermoscope that had been provided for the study did not have advanced features affecting the image quality. Also, the sample size for the study was 33, which is again a limitation, but considering the low incidence of leprosy in India, excluding criteria as well as a fixed study period of just 18 months, the sample size can be considered reasonable. Conclusion: Significant dermoscopic changes have been observed during the study, and hence we feel that dermoscope as a diagnostic tool has tremendous scope in the early diagnosis of leprosy, especially in situations where biopsy needs to be avoided (children, facial lesions) or in atypical clinical presentations that demand a supportive investigatory intervention. In this era of HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C, the importance of replacing an invasive procedure cannot be overemphasized. However, further studies on a larger population with advanced dermoscopes are necessary to support and strengthen our findings.

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