Applied Evidence

Dermoscopy in family medicine: A primer

Author and Disclosure Information



A bonus: Diagnosing scabies

Increasingly, dermoscopy is being used in the diagnosis of many other skin, nail, and hair problems. In fact, one great bonus to owning a dermatoscope is the accurate diagnosis of scabies. Dermoscopy can be helpful in detecting the scabies mite without having to scrape and use the microscope. Moreover, the sensitivity and specificity of a dermoscopic diagnosis is higher than for scraping and microscopy.19

What you’ll see

The anterior legs and mouth parts of the mite resemble a triangle (arrowhead, delta-wing jet) (FIGURE 17). Look for a burrow, and the mite can be seen at the end of the burrow as a faint circle with a leading darker triangle. The burrow itself has a distinctive pattern that has more morphology than an excoriation and has been described as the contrail of a jet plane. Using a dermatoscope attached to your smartphone allows you to magnify the image even further while maintaining a safe distance from the mite.

2 scabies mites and burrows

Richard P. Usatine, MD, 903 W. Martin, Skin Clinic – Historic Building, San Antonio, TX 78207;

Next Article: