Appearances in dermatopathology: the diagnostic and the deceptive

Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol. May-Jun 2013;79(3):338-48. doi: 10.4103/0378-6323.110769.


Dermatopathology involves study of the microscopic morphology of skin sections. It mirrors pathophysiologic changes occurring at the microscopic level in the skin and its appendages. Sometimes, we come across certain morphologic features that bear a close resemblance to our physical world. These close resemblances are referred to as "appearances" in parlance to dermatopathology. Sometimes, these "appearances" are unique to a certain skin disorder and thus help us to clinch to a definitive diagnosis (e.g., "tadpole" appearance in syringoma). However, frequently, these appearances are encountered in many other skin conditions and can be therefore be misleading. In this paper, we attempt to enlist such "appearances" commonly found in the dermatopathologic literature and also enumerate their differential diagnoses.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dermatology / methods*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Pathology, Clinical / methods*
  • Skin Diseases / diagnosis
  • Skin Diseases / pathology*
  • Skin Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology*