Official reprint from UpToDate®
www.uptodate.com ©2016 UpToDate®

Dermatologic procedures

Beth G Goldstein, MD
Adam O Goldstein, MD, MPH
Section Editor
Robert P Dellavalle, MD, PhD, MSPH
Deputy Editor
Rosamaria Corona, MD, DSc


Dermatologic procedures can be utilized to confirm a suspected diagnosis (eg, scabies preparation), to differentiate between two diagnoses (eg, potassium hydroxide [KOH] preparation to differentiate between fungal infection and dermatitis), and to give a definitive treatment for common dermatoses (eg, cryosurgery for actinic keratoses).

A number of dermatologic procedures will be described here. Dermoscopy, skin biopsy, and intralesional injection are discussed separately. (See "Overview of dermoscopy" and "Dermoscopic evaluation of skin lesions" and "Skin biopsy techniques" and "Intralesional injection".)


It is essential to have the proper equipment before starting any procedure. In addition, the benefits of good lighting cannot be overstated. Occasionally, the use of a magnifying hand lens (or a special magnifying lens system, such as dermoscopy) is helpful for delineating the types of lesions present and deciding where to perform a procedure.

Rushing a dermatologic procedure is helpful to neither the patient nor to the physician and may result in a poor outcome. If the patient is scheduled specifically for cutaneous surgery, suggested preoperative guidelines are useful:

Ask about allergies and past reactions to local anesthetics.


Subscribers log in here

To continue reading this article, you must log in with your personal, hospital, or group practice subscription. For more information or to purchase a personal subscription, click below on the option that best describes you:
Literature review current through: Sep 2016. | This topic last updated: Jan 27, 2016.
The content on the UpToDate website is not intended nor recommended as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your own physician or other qualified health care professional regarding any medical questions or conditions. The use of this website is governed by the UpToDate Terms of Use ©2016 UpToDate, Inc.