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Correspondence |

Trichoscopy Using a Handheld Dermoscope: An In-Office Technique to Diagnose Genetic Disease of the Hair

Nanette B. Silverberg, MD; Jonathan I. Silverberg, PhD; Mary L. Wong, MD
Arch Dermatol. 2009;145(5):600-601. doi:10.1001/archdermatol.2009.59.
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Over a dozen hair shaft disorders have been described, all diagnosable using light microscopy.1 Difficulties exist in the placement of hairs onto slides for viewing in that the hairs may shift or fly away. Furthermore, sampling requires cutting short hairs, often in the brows, which is difficult to perform in young children.

Trichoscopy is a technique of examining the hairs using dermoscopy. The technique using videodermoscopy at ×20 to ×70 original magnification has been proven comparable to light microscopy for the diagnosis of hair shaft abnormalities, including those of Netherton syndrome.2,3 A single case report of trichoscopy using a handheld camera with dermoscopy attachment has been described,4 the findings of which were partially corroborated using videodermoscopy.5 We hypothesized that dermoscopy with polarized light could aid in the visualization in vivo and in vitro of hair shaft abnormalities.

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Figure 1

In vivo handheld dermoscopy of the lateral eyebrow of a 15-year-old white boy with Netherton syndrome (original magnification ×16).

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Figure 2.

In vitro dermoscopy of a cut hair from the scalp of a 6-year-old African American girl with microscopy-confirmed trichorrhexis nodosa (original magnification ×16).

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