How do new dermatological technologies contribute to skin health?
Telemedicine and the latest techniques in the specialty play an important role in skin oncology, as well as in the diagnosis and monitoring of inflammatory diseases and capillary problems through digital dermoscopy, confocal microscopy or dermatological ultrasound.
Within the framework of the 44th Congress of the Spanish Academy of Dermatology and Venrology (AEDV) , recently held in Zaragoza, specialists have addressed the latest developments in the specialty, among which new technological alternatives in terms of skin oncology, hair problems stand out. and inflammatory skin diseases ; and the development of telecommunications , which is also significantly influencing the health field with the appearance of the so-called telemedicine.
“In the field of dermatology, it is easier to carry out a diagnostic approach using telemedicine by sending images or tests to assess lesions”
In dermatology in particular, there are more and more web pages and applications that allow the sending of images, laboratory tests or any complementary material to assess skin lesions through rapid interaction with the dermatologist. This is explained to SaluDigital.es by the dermatologist Jaime Vilar, a member of the AEDV , who considers telemedicine as a tool that arises to facilitate the exchange of information quickly and comfortably between different health professionals. “In the field of dermatology, it is easier to carry out an adequate diagnostic approach using these means,” he says. The Dr. Vilar points out, for example, E-medicaldoctors , an initiative of Spanish doctors who have up to 30 doctors from different medical specialties. This website allows you to make online inquiries through your smartphone , tablet or computer, and get answers in less than 24 hours with the possibility of direct interaction. Ehealth tools that he considers very useful, together with mobile applications that allow the individual to check their moles and refer them to the dermatologist in case of alert to the appearance of changes.
On the other hand, there are more and more different types of instruments, devices, gadgets , applications, andhardware for the diagnosis or control of diseases from innovation. In this sense, Dermatology was not going to be less and the specialty is already echoing the latest technologies.
The ultrasound is a diagnostic technique based on the application of ultrasonic waves through the skin to achieve their behavior to the different types of tissues, which will translate into a certain image on the monitor. It is one of the oldest diagnostic imaging alternatives, but it is still used in increasingly sophisticated fields of medicine.
The technique is being used as a marker of inflammation for the monitoring of hidradenitis suppurativa, psoriasis or systemic sclerosis
As another member of the AEDV says , the dermatologist Carolina Medina Gil , this is the case of dermatological ultrasound , used to study subcutaneous lesions: “We use it to distinguish whether it is a solid lesion, a cyst or a lesion of vascular nature. ”
On the other hand, it is also being used as a marker of inflammation to monitor inflammatory dermatological pathologies, such as hidradenitis suppurativa , psoriasis or systemic sclerosis . In addition, according to the best skin specialist in west delhi , it enables the study of nail pathology or even melanoma monitoring .
“Dermatological ultrasound can be very useful for the injection of filling materials in some aesthetic interventions, since it guarantees their placement in the right place,” says the also specialist in Aesthetic Medicine.
The Dermatoscopy is a tool consisting of employing a loupe magnification and a special light (polarized or unpolarized) eliminating the reflection of light when it reaches the stratum corneum of the skin. In this way, a much more accurate diagnostic approach can be performed than with the clinical eye alone. “We can observe not only the external part of the skin lesion, but also the most superficial layers under the skin, which are not visible to the naked eye,” says Dr. Vilar.
The technique has been used for some time in dermatological consultation. However, the technological innovation, specifically, is the so-called digital dermoscopy , a modality that consists in the use of this same system, but associated, however, with special software for the storage of dermoscopic images of all the moles of a patient .
“Based on this advance, the early detection of skin cancer by one that has begun to be malignant is much easier,” emphasizes the dermatologist. “This is thanks to the monitoring and assessment of subtle changes in those with a history of melanoma, or those with a high risk of suffering from it due to the number of moles.”
In addition, digital dermoscopy, apart from the control of moles, can also be useful for the follow-up of capillary problems , by observing the dermoscopic patterns characteristic of the different types of alopecia, as well as by assessing the changes that occur with the treatment.
What is gaining more and more relevance in Dermatology, since it allows the visualization of skin cells in real time, is confocal microscopy . It turns out that as each skin disease develops, this tool allows a reliable diagnostic approach without the need for a biopsy or histopathological study.
“The direct visualization of cells in vivo allows a reliable diagnostic approach without the need to resort to biopsy”
According to Vilar , “for the direct visualization of cells in vivo, a ring is placed on the surface of the lesion to be treated, coupling the equipment to these rings to be able to capture the images in a gray scale.”
Although the alternative is still under development and the characteristic patterns of the different skin lesions are being described, there is no doubt that the technique, for the moment, stands out as being painless and harmless for the patient.
SPAIN, PRESENT AND FUTURE
For these two specialists from the Spanish Academy of Dermatology and Venrology, Spain is one of the pioneer countries in the field of telemedicine, as well as an important engine for the technological development of digital dermoscopy and confocal microscopy. “The field of ultrasound is relatively newer, but there is already a Spanish skin ultrasound group that is developing training plans that dermatologists can access,” they point out.
The development of new technologies is experiencing rapid growth, and the future will be directed to the development of new technological equipment that is increasingly more decisive and less invasive for the patient that facilitates the diagnosis and treatment of different skin diseases. Of course, as Dr. Vilar and Dr. Medina conclude for SaluDigital, the revolution in telecommunications systems will evolve in a virtual interaction with dermatologists, reducing waiting lists or unnecessary medical visits.