It has been a pleasure and an honor to be asked to review and write a foreword for this new publication. Drs. Johr and Stolz have once again advanced the field of dermoscopy by providing a step-by-step guide which can take the neophyte dermoscopist to the next level of expertise. They have added an associate editor Dr. James Ida and have chapters which relate to the use of dermoscopy in general/non-neoplastic skin disorders as well as hair disorders.
I have had the gift of learning from Dr. Johr, first in 1996 and frequently since then. Although primarily a pediatric dermatologist, I have always seen selected adults as well. With time I would feel disarmed if I somehow started a clinic without a dermatoscope available to me. Obviously, you do not expect to see a child with a melanoma frequently in a pediatric dermatology practice, yet I have seen more than twenty melanomas in children, many before I became proficient in dermoscopy. In children we frequently make use of dermoscopy in inflammatory and infections disorders as well as hair disorders. Having a long interest in scabies, for the past 15 years I have abandoned skin scrapings for diagnosis, and have relied on dermoscopy alone. I will occasionally do a scraping to prove to parents the diagnosis, as they have often been misdiagnosed by other doctors for weeks and months. Likewise, dermoscopy is essential in rheumatologic conditions (e.g., capillary nail fold visualization) and in hair shaft disorders.
This text is an extraordinary teaching instrument. It lays out with descriptions and dermoscopic figures, the basics of features which lead to the diagnosis or differential diagnosis. This is done in the chapter “Dermoscopy A to Z.” What follows is the heart of the learning experience: 105 cases which are sequences of brief history, followed by clinical, then unlabeled dermoscopic photos, and then like peeling back the onion, labeled important dermoscopic features, then the diagnosis, as well as discussion of the important features of the case. An honest description of the limits of dermoscopy is given for many cases. These cases are brief, beautifully photographed, and packed with insight.
I truly wish I had this text available when I first learned dermoscopic analysis. A beginner could learn all of the essentials from this work alone, followed by years of practice. I find it inconceivable today that a trained dermatologist would diagnose and treat melanoma, and fail to use a dermoscopy. Drs. Johr, Stolz, and Ida are to be commended for producing a text which will jump-start those on their venture into dermoscopy!
Ronald C. Hansen MD
Professor (Emeritus) Dermatology and Pediatrics,
University College of Medicine, Tucson, Arizona
Affiliate and Founding Chief of Dermatology,
Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Arizona