The 2016 International League of Dermatological Societies' revised glossary for the description of cutaneous lesions

Br J Dermatol. 2016 Jun;174(6):1351-8. doi: 10.1111/bjd.14419. Epub 2016 Apr 3.


Background: In order to facilitate effective communication in dermatology, a clearly defined glossary with precise descriptions is essential. The International League of Dermatological Societies' (ILDS) 'Glossary of basic dermatology lesions' was first published in 1987. A quarter of a century later, the ILDS made the decision to revise and expand this nomenclature.

Objectives: Revision and expansion of an international nomenclature for the description of cutaneous lesions.

Methods: The ILDS nominated a committee on nomenclature. Based on a review of the literature and major textbooks, the committee assembled a list of terms and definitions. National member societies of the ILDS were then invited to participate in a Delphi voting exercise (two rounds for basic descriptive terms, one round for additional terms). The committee reviewed and consolidated comments and consented the final version.

Results: The revised and expanded version of the ILDS nomenclature includes 13 basic terms and over 100 additional descriptive terms. Forty-six and then 34 national member societies participated in the first and second voting rounds, respectively.

Conclusions: A unifying nomenclature is crucial for effective communication among dermatologists and those who care for skin diseases. The next step will be a roll-out programme to national member societies of the ILDS that will include translations into languages other than English and adaptations reflecting local circumstances.

MeSH terms

  • Consensus
  • Dermatology*
  • Humans
  • International Cooperation
  • Skin Diseases*
  • Societies, Medical
  • Terminology as Topic