The latest laser technology looks beneath your skin and can avoid the need to take tissue samples.
For immediate analysis by your consultant, or destined for a laboratory, biopsies are a key tool in medical dermatology. Being able to see the structure of suspicious tissue at a cellular level can be vital to accurate diagnosis.
Taking a sample from your skin is normally a safe process, not least when carried out by a skilled dermatologist. This is still physically invasive and risks discomfort, bleeding, bruising, possibly infection, or scarring.
Where physical biopsy is the right option, Skin Care Network take every care to avoid complications. We can however offer an alternative to biopsies, as the only UK private clinic with a confocal microscope designed for the task.
This innovative technology uses a laser beam to see beneath your skin, cell by cell. Helpful in assessing potential skin cancers, or inflammatory skin diseases, especially where the issue is in a visible, or sensitive area.
Truly Patient Friendly
Reflective confocal microscopy gives off no radiation, is pain free and trouble free. A hand held device can be guided to investigate almost any part of your body and see beneath your skin.
Images at a cellular level are sent to a screen, to be studied live by your consultant and recorded for reference. Apart from a swift diagnosis, this allows change to be monitored, not so easy with physical tissue samples.
As importantly, your tissue will be undisturbed, as will your day and the next few days. Life resumes as normal after examination, no wound to be concerned about, or care for.
For delicate areas this is a particular benefit, although avoiding a biopsy is generally helpful. Neither is there an issue where conditions similar in appearance need to be accurately diagnosed.
Investigating The Scalp
We chose the scalp as an example of using a biopsy alternative, as this is a sensitive, visible area. Also one where biopsies often need to be part of diagnosis.
Whilst our hair has no real biological function, the loss of this matters to us. Conditions bringing significant hair loss, such as scarring alopecia and alopecia areata in adults, or children can be devastating.
Identifying the exact type of inflammation causing a patient’s condition is essential and confocal microscopy can meet the task, whilst aiding wider clinical evaluation of the scalp.
Hair follicles and oil producing sebaceous glands attached to them can be seen in remarkable detail, as can the epidermis and dermis, the upper and lower levels of skin. Able to be studied for a range of infections and potential skin cancers.
Efficiency Of Approach
We highlighted one area where people are especially concerned about biopsies, although the same can apply elsewhere. Our faces a good example and for understandable reasons, although an alternative to biopsy is welcome for any part of our body.
Confocal microscopy also aids diagnostic efficiency, by offering immediately viewable, high resolution digital images. Able to be recorded via an easily manoeuvrable device, giving useful access to almost any area of your body.
The opportunity technology has presented is valuable to the field of dermatology and to our patients. Skin Care Network consultants are pleased to be able to offer this, by all means get in touch if we can help.