The question might be posed, "Why another textbook of dermatopathology?" since a number of books are currently available and would seem to do justice to the subject. Quite simply, I have perceived the need for another book. Following on the success of a monograph on melanocytic lesions of the skin, The Pathology of Melanocytic Nevi and Malignant Melanoma, I believe that there is indeed a need for a general text on dermatopathology emphasizing the same format as the aforementioned monograph: descriptive histopathology and differential diagnosis, critical analysis, balanced perspectives on what is known and what is not, clarity of writing, the use of tables to summarize the key features of major entities, and color photomicrographs.
At the same time it must be acknowledged that the scope of such a book goes well beyond that of a monograph on melanocytic lesions. As a result, I have engaged a scholarly group of individuals to help in writing such a book in a timely fashion. Nonetheless, one of my major goals has been to maintain a uniform style in keeping with the philosophy of the book.
In recent years I have been impressed with the need to provide some orientation for beginning the process of learning dermatopathology. Thus, the first chapter of this book is devoted to the approach to diagnosis at the microscope. Daniel Jones, MD, PhD, also discusses succinctly the scientific basis of pattern recognition as a prologue to algorithms and the description of the major patterns of inflammation of the skin. Christopher French, MD, has, in addition, designed schematic color figures that enhance the recognition of patterns of inflammation of the skin. Another major feature is that associate editor Neil Crowson, MD, has taken high-quality photomicrographs for most of the entities in the book. This is another characteristic that provides a uniform style to the book. I am deeply grateful to Dr. Crowson for this enormous undertaking.
Although all major entities have been covered in an erudite fashion in the book, a number of unique features must be mentioned. The chapter on disorders of the skin appendages provides new quantitative information on the alopecias and describes the use of transverse sections in the diagnosis of alopecia. Dr. Crowson has written a comprehensive chapter on drug eruptions and included lists of medications implicated in these eruptions. Critical chapters on controversial and difficult topics such as vasculitis, panniculitis, disorders of pigmentation, and melanocytic lesions will provide greater insight and aid to the pathologist dealing with these conditions. Finally, there are more detailed chapters on disorders of the nails and the oral mucosa than are currently available in most other texts. Another modification has been the inclusion of a scholarly section on normal skin histology, laboratory methods, immunohistochemistry, and the molecular biology of cutaneous lymphoid infiltrates in an appendix rather than in the text itself.
It will become evident to the reader that there is occasionally some overlap or duplication of some conditions among the various chapters, since no method of classification is entirely consistent. My intention has been to allow some duplication since this provides different perspectives on a disease process.
Finally and most importantly, I would like to acknowledge the tremendous efforts of many friends and colleagues without whose advice, encouragement, and help this book would not have been possible. First of all, I would like to thank Neil Crowson for his enormous contributions in photography and writing and for his unflagging encouragement and support throughout the project. I am also indebted to my former fellows Klaus Busam and Scott Granter for their commitment and hard work on the book, and I am most appreciative of my secretaries Robin McCarthy (who has since departed for an undoubtedly easier job!) and Maria Palaima, and the staff at McGraw-Hill for their dedication and efforts in bringing the book to closure. Lastly, I am most grateful to all the contributors who have sacrificed so much of their time and energy to make the book not only possible but a learned work that will have an impact on the field.