Taking dermoscopy to another level with Demetra
Matthew Laffer, dermatologist, Scottsdale, Arizona, (US)
June 21 2022
In the past, medical organizations took full charge of treatments, guiding patients through a process that could be confusing and filled with medical jargon. Today, there is a trend towards more interaction. Doctors discuss results with patients and explain how they arrived at a specific diagnosis. In this way, patients are more involved and get a feeling of co-ownership of their treatment path. Dr Matthew Laffer, a board-certified dermatologist from Scottsdale Arizona, shared his thoughts on integrating the Demetra Skin Imaging System into his clinical practice and its impact on patient care:
With the rates of skin cancer increasing annually throughout the 2000s, it is as important as ever to use technology to help identify skin cancer at the earliest stage possible. I believe using the Demetra dermatoscope has given me an advanced tool to help maximize my ability to identify skin cancers and other skin disorders.
In practice, my days are focused on skin cancer and general dermatology, performing over 30 total body skin examinations daily. In order to efficiently and safely perform these examinations, my dermatoscope has been my prized possession. It allows me to evaluate skin structures that are often not evident with the naked eye or even a magnifying lens. Without this tool, it feels as if an important element of the skin examination is missing.
I was trained on the Dermlite DL3 and later transitioned to the Heine Delta 30, which both gave me the confidence and ability to identify early melanomas and other lesions. It wasn’t until this year, when I began using the Barco Demetra, that I felt I was able to take dermoscopy to another level in my practice.
Demetra has multiple advanced features to help identify and monitor lesions for dermatoscopic irregularities. With this handheld device I can use the features discussed below to rapidly review images for small concerning details. Additionally, I can also review dermatoscopic images with patients in real time on a large, high resolution touch screen.
In my clinic, I use the Demetra during nearly all of my examinations. For example, when treating verruca, I use the dermatoscope to image the lesion and explain to my patient why the lesion is consistent with a verruca or how the lesion has changed with past treatments. When examining a benign appearing nevus or seborrheic keratosis, I present the dermatoscopic photo on the touch screen and explain the normal pigment pattern or benign features to give the patient the upmost confidence in my medical decision. In alopecia areata and androgenic alopecia, I now have the ability for the patients to see increased hair density or hair loss prior to further treatment.
When monitoring a lesion, I am able to pull up the past and current images side by side and even overlay the dermatoscopic images to identify the most subtle changes. I can examine blood contrast and pigment contrast maps which may provide additional insight into lesions. The seamless wireless integration with my Modernizing Medicine medical record allows me to document these lesion photos without attaching my dermatoscope to an Ipad or camera.
“Patients are often saying how appreciative they are that I use this technology and it allows them to feel as if they are receiving a very thorough examination and education. “
Dr Matthew Laffer
I especially love this tool when discussing concerning lesions with my patients. I can easily explain the atypical pigment pattern, asymmetry, or blood vessel pattern of a lesion prior to performing a biopsy. This allows the patient to understand why the biopsy or procedure is necessary and gives them knowledge to identify future concerning changes to their skin.
With this enhanced ability to screen for small changes, Demetra has decreased the number of biopsies needed to identify malignant lesions and greatly increased my overall patient satisfaction. Patients are often saying how appreciative they are that I use this technology and it allows them to feel as if they are receiving a very thorough examination and education.
The Barco Demetra is a fantastic tool to help identify benign and suspicious lesions. I believe this device is a great addition to a dermatologist’s armamentarium to help give extraordinary care to our patients.
– Author: Dr Matthew Laffer, dermatologist, Scottsdale, Arizona (US)
“Demetra has given me an advanced tool to help maximize my ability to identify skin cancers and other skin.”
Dr Matthew Laffer