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Morphology: How to describe what you see Medical Student Core Curriculum in Dermatology Last updated June 13, 2011 1.

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Presentation on theme: "Morphology: How to describe what you see Medical Student Core Curriculum in Dermatology Last updated June 13, 2011 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 Morphology: How to describe what you see Medical Student Core Curriculum in Dermatology Last updated June 13,

2 Module Instructions The following module contains a number of blue, underlined terms which are hyperlinked to the dermatology glossary, an illustrated interactive guide to clinical dermatology and dermatopathology.dermatology glossary We encourage the learner to read all the hyperlinked information. 2

3 Goals and Objectives The purpose of this module is to help medical students learn how to best describe skin lesions After completing this module, the learner will be able to: Develop a systematic approach to describing skin eruptions Utilize the descriptors and definitions of morphology 3

4 Morphology The word morphology is used by dermatologists to describe the use of descriptors to accurately characterize and document skin lesions The morphologic characteristics of skin lesions are key elements in establishing the diagnosis and communicating skin findings There are two steps in establishing the morphology of any given skin condition: 1. Careful visual inspection 2. Application of correct descriptors 4

5 Visual Inspection Visual inspection at its core is much like analyzing a painting or looking at any object for the first time. Question 1 How would you fill in the description of the item depicted on the next slide? 5

6 Question 1 This is a _____ _______ _____ object measuring ____ with ___ ____ in the center. It is sitting on a ____ __________ and casts a ______. 6

7 Question 1 This is a brown circular shiny object measuring 8 mm with four holes in the center. It is sitting on a blue background and casts a shadow. The shadow tells us it is raised (palpable). 7

8 Question 1 This is a brown circular shiny object measuring 8 mm with four holes in the center. It is sitting on a blue background and casts a shadow. The above description identifies: 1. Palpability (indicated by shadow) 2. Color 3. Shape 4. Texture 5. Size 6. Location 8

9 We will use the same principles to learn the vocabulary of the skin (i.e. morphology) 9

10 Case One Mr. F 10

11 Case One: History HPI: Mr. F is a 32-year-old man who presents to his primary care provider with blotches on his upper back, chest, and arms for several years. They are more noticeable in the summertime. PMH: shoulder pain from an old sports injury Allergies: none Medications: NSAID as needed Family history: not contributory Social history: auto mechanic ROS: negative 11

12 Case One: Skin Exam 12

13 Case One How would you describe this skin exam to a resident or an attending? What do you see? Look carefully at all clues in the photographs. There are many right ways to describe something. Be creative. 13

14 Case One, Question 1 Are these lesions raised, flat, or depressed? 14

15 Case One, Question 1 Imagine running your finger over them. Close your eyes when you do so. –You dont feel anything as your finger runs across them –They are flat –Small, flat lesions are called maculesmacules 15

16 Case One, Question 2 How else can you describe them? –What size are they? –What shape are they? –What color are they? –How regular and distinct is the border? –How are they configured? –How are they distributed? 16

17 Case One, Question 2 How else can you describe them? –3 to 10 mm 17

18 Case One, Question 3 How else can you describe them? –What size are they? –What shape are they? –What color are they? –How regular and distinct is the border? –How are they configured? –How are they distributed? 18

19 Case One, Question 3 How else can you describe them? –3 to 10 mm –Round to oval 19

20 Case One, Question 4 How else can you describe them? –What size are they? –What shape are they? –What color are they? –How regular and distinct is the border? –How are they configured? –How are they distributed? 20

21 Case One, Question 4 How else can you describe them? –3 to 10 mm –Round to oval –Pink to tan 21

22 Case One, Question 5 How else can you describe them? –What size are they? –What shape are they? –What color are they? –How regular and distinct is the border? –How are they configured? –How are they distributed? 22

23 Case One, Question 5 How else can you describe them? –3 to 10 mm –Round to oval –Pink to tan –Sharp, irregular borders 23

24 Case One, Question 6 How else can you describe them? –What size are they? –What shape are they? –What color are they? –How distinct are they? –How are they configured (how do the lesions relate to each other)? –How are they distributed (where are they on the body)? 24

25 Case One, Question 6 How else can you describe them? –3 to 10 mm –Round to oval –Pink to tan –Sharp, irregular borders –Separate, in no particular pattern 25

26 Case One, Question 7 How else can you describe them? –What size are they? –What shape are they? –What color are they? –How distinct are they? –How are they configured? –How are they distributed? 26

27 Case One, Question 7 How else can you describe them? –3 to 10 mm –Round to oval –Pink to tan –Sharp, irregular borders –Separate, in no particular pattern –On the upper chest and back, and flexures of arms 27

28 Skin Exam Mr. Fs skin exam shows: Multiple 3 to 10 mm pink to tan-colored, round, flat lesions with sharp, irregular borders and varying sizes on his upper chest, back and flexures of the arms. Small (< 1cm) flat lesions are called macules macules In this case, the primary lesion is a macule 28

29 Diagnosis Dr. D performs a potassium hydroxide exam and based on the findings, diagnoses Mr. F with tinea versicolor. The primary lesion in tinea versicolor is a macule.tinea versicolormacule 29

30 Describing lesions: Morphology Dermatologys short-hand vocabulary is called morphology This allows medical personnel to communicate skin findings succinctly Dermatologists attempt to identify the primary lesion of any skin eruption Primary lesions are the nouns that other adjectives modify 30

31 Morphology As you go through the following cases, you will learn the vocabulary of primary lesions What matters most is that your description captures the essence of the lesion, even if you do not use classic morphological words 31

32 Primary lesion: Macule (L. macula, spot) A macule is flat; if you can feel it, then its not a macule. Usually caused by color changes in the epidermis or upper dermis 32

33 Examples of Macules 33

34 Case One, Question 8 Macules can: a. Feel raised b. Feel flat c. Contain fluid d. Be any shape 34

35 Case One, Question 8 Answer: b & d Macules can: a. Feel raised (these are papules or plaques) b. Feel flat c. Contain fluid (these are vesicles or bullae) d. Be any shape 35

36 Macules Presence of a macule indicates that the process is confined to the epidermis Macules do not contain fluid and are not raised Macules can have secondary changes such as scale or crustscalecrust If a flat lesion is over 1 cm it is called a patch patch 36

37 Primary lesion: Patch Patches are flat but larger than macules If its flat and larger than 1 cm, call it a patch patch 37

38 Examples of Patches 38

39 Macule and Patch MACULE (<1cm) PATCH (>1cm) 39

40 Case Two Mr. K 40

41 Case Two: History HPI: Mr. K is a 36-year-old man who presents with four years of itchy, flaky spots on his elbows, knees, and lower back. They have not improved with moisturizers. PMH: none Allergies: none Medications: none Family history: father died from heart attack at age 68 Social history: delivery truck driver Health-related behaviors: drinks 2-3 beers a week ROS: negative 41

42 Case Two: Skin Exam 42

43 Case Two How would you describe this skin exam to a resident or an attending? What do you see when you look at these photographs? 43

44 Case Two, Question 1 Are these lesions raised, flat, or depressed? 44

45 Case Two, Question 1 Imagine running your finger over them. Close your eyes. –These are raised –Large (>1cm), plateau- like, raised lesions are called plaquesplaques 45

46 Case Two How else can you describe them? –Size? –Shape? –Color? –Sharp borders? –Texture? –Configuration? –Distribution? 46

47 Case Two How else can you describe them? –3 to 10 cm –Round to geographic (like outlines on a map) –Pink –Sharply circumscribed –Scaly –Symmetrical –Extensor surfaces (knees, elbows), back, gluteal cleft 47

48 Describing color Describing colors of lesions is challenging Be creative. Learn lots of colors. There are infinite shades of skin tones Skin-colored refers to a lesion the same color as the patients skin tone Learn the classic color assigned to skin conditions as you read about them 48

49 Skin Exam Mr. Ks skin exam shows: Several 3-10 cm bright pink round sharply circumscribed scaly plaques on extensor elbows, knees, lower back, and gluteal cleft Large, raised lesions are called plaquesplaques Mr. K has psoriasis. The primary lesion in psoriasis is a plaque. 49

50 Primary lesions: Plaque Plaques are raised lesions larger than 1 cm You can feel them Cast a shadow with side lighting A proliferation of cells in epidermis or superficial dermis 50

51 Examples of Plaques 51

52 Raised lesions A raised lesion measuring less than 1 cm is called a ______. 52

53 Raised lesions A raised lesion measuring less than 1 cm is called a papule.papule 53

54 Primary lesion: Papule (L. papula, pimple) Papules are raised lesions less than 1 cm A proliferation of cells in epidermis or superficial dermis 54

55 Examples of Papules 55

56 Papule and Plaque PAPULE (<1cm) PLAQUE (>1cm) 56

57 A larger, deep papule is called a… 57

58 Nodule (L. nodulus, small knot) A proliferation of cells down to the mid-dermis 58

59 Nodule A raised area in the skin where the overlying epidermis looks and feels normal, but there is a proliferation of cells in deeper tissues is called a nodule.nodule 59

60 Case Three Mr. B 60

61 Case Three HPI: Mr. B is a 28-year-old man who presents with four days of pain and blisters on his left chest. PMH: none Allergies: none Medications: none Family history: noncontributory Social history: single; works as a personal trainer ROS: negative 61

62 Case Three 62

63 Case Three How would you describe this skin exam to a resident or an attending? What do you see when you look at these photographs? 63

64 Case Three, Questions Are these lesions raised, flat, or depressed? Do they have fluid in them? 64

65 Case Three, Questions Imagine running your finger over them. –These are raised They do have fluid in them –Small, raised, fluid- filled lesions are called vesiclesvesicles 65

66 Case Three How else can you describe them? –Size? –Shape? –Color? –Texture? –Configuration? –Distribution? 66

67 Case Three How else can you describe them? –2 – 5 mm –Round to oval –Clear, with red background –Fluid-filled –Grouped, dermatomal configuration –Unilateral left chest 67

68 Distribution / Configuration Part of describing lesions is noting distribution and configuration Distribution means location on the body Configuration means how the lesions are arranged or relate to each other Lesions are grouped but also follow a linear pattern around the trunk This is an example of a linear or dermatomal configuration dermatomal 68

69 Distribution / Configuration To learn more about distributions, click here: To learn more about configurations, click here: 69

70 Skin Exam Mr. Bs skin exam shows: Grouped 2-5 mm vesicles on an erythematous base in a unilateral, dermatomal configuration on the left chest Small, fluid-filled lesions are called vesicles vesicles Mr. K has shingles. The primary lesion in shingles is a vesicle. 70

71 Primary lesion: Vesicle (L. vesicula, little bladder; bulla, bubble) Vesicles are fluid- filled papules (small blisters) A large (> 1cm) blister is called a bulla bulla vesicle bulla 71

72 Examples of Vesicles 72

73 A vesicle filled with pus is called a… 73

74 Pustule Pus is made up of leukocytes and a thin fluid called liquor puris (L. pus liquid) See also furuncle and abscessfuruncleabscess 74

75 A superficial loss of the epidermis is called an… 75

76 Erosion Erosions are loss of the epidermis Erosions They may occur after a vesicle forms and the top peels off They weep and become crusted This is an example of a secondary change or characteristic 76

77 If an erosion involves the dermis, it is called an… 77

78 Ulcer (L. ulcus, sore) Ulcers often heal with scarring; erosions usually do not Ulcers Erosions and ulcers are secondary lesions Erosionsulcers Secondary lesions (or changes) may evolve from primary lesions, or may be caused by external forces such as scratching, trauma, infection, or the healing process 78

79 Seeing the skin To describe what you see on the skin, first determine the primary lesion Is it raised, flat, or depressed? Is it small or large? Is it fluid-filled? The table in the next slide summarizes most of the primary lesions and common secondary lesions. We have already reviewed many of them. Click on the others to learn more. 79

80 Primary and Secondary Lesions RaisedFlatDepressedFluid-filledVascular PapuleMaculeErosionVesicleTelangiectasia PlaquePatchUlcerBullaPetechiae NoduleAtrophyPustuleEcchymosis TumorSinusFuruncle WhealStriaAbscess Burrow Scar 80

81 Seeing the skin In your descriptions, include adjectives that help describe the primary lesions Size Shape Its okay to say small, raised lesion, but papule is more concise. It is more important to describe what you see, than to state what you think the diagnosis is Color Texture Configuration Distribution 81

82 This is an 8mm brown circular shiny raised object with four holes in the center. After reading the description, without seeing the image, you could visualize a button in your mind. Someone who reads your note could make the diagnosis of a button Describe skin lesions this way in your notes and consults Seeing the skin 82

83 Take Home Points To describe the skin, you first have to see it Be creative in your descriptions, especially subjective things like color. First, determine whether lesions are raised, flat, or depressed. Use this with size to determine the primary lesion. The primary lesion is the noun that you describe with adjectives like exact size, shape, color, texture, distribution, and configuration. 83

84 Acknowledgements This module was developed by the American Academy of Dermatologys Medical Student Core Curriculum Workgroup from Primary authors: Patrick McCleskey, MD, FAAD; Peter A. Lio, MD, FAAD; Jacqueline C. Dolev, MD, FAAD; Amit Garg, MD, FAAD. Peer reviewers: Heather Woodworth Wickless, MD, MPH; Ron Birnbaum, MD; Timothy G. Berger, MD, FAAD. Revisions: Sarah D. Cipriano, MD, MPH. Last revised June

85 References Berger T, Hong J, Saeed S, Colaco S, Tsang M, Kasper R. The Web- Based Illustrated Clinical Dermatology Glossary. MedEdPORTAL; Available from: Morphology illustrations are from the Dermatology Lexicon Project, which is now maintained by the American Academy of Dermatology as DermLex. Dolev JC, Friedlaender JK, Braverman, IM. Use of fine art to enhance visual diagnostic skills. JAMA 2001; 286(9), Habif TP. Clinical Dermatology: a color guide to diagnosis and therapy, 4 th ed. New York, NY: Mosby; Marks Jr JG, Miller JJ. Lookingbill and Marks Principles of Dermatology, 4 th ed. Elsevier; Review primary lesions and other morphologic terms at 85


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