How to submit a specimen for cutaneous pathology analysis. Using the '5 D's' to get the most from biopsies

Arch Fam Med. 1997 Jan-Feb;6(1):64-6. doi: 10.1001/archfami.6.1.64.


Evaluation of cutaneous biopsy specimens is greatly assisted by appropriate clinical information from the submitting physician. Without such data, it is difficult if not impossible to accurately interpret some histologic findings. As such, the more dermatopathologists know about the patient from whom a biopsy specimen is being obtained the more accurate their interpretation of the histologic findings may be. We have listed 5 categories of information all beginning with the letter D, which should be available to dermatopathologists as they evaluate a cutaneous biopsy specimen-description, demographics, duration, diameter, and diagnosis. Inclusion of this information with skin biopsy specimens will assist in their accurate and timely interpretation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Skin / pathology*
  • Skin Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Specimen Handling / methods*