Standardization of terminology in dermoscopy/dermatoscopy: Results of the third consensus conference of the International Society of Dermoscopy

Harald Kittler, Ashfaq A. Marghoob, Giuseppe Argenziano, Cristina Carrera, Clara Curiel-Lewandrowski, Rainer Hofmann-Wellenhof, Josep Malvehy, Scott Menzies, Susana Puig, Harold Rabinovitz, Wilhelm Stolz, Toshiaki Saida, H. Peter Soyer, Eliot Siegel, William V. Stoecker, Alon Scope, Masaru Tanaka, Luc Thomas, Philipp Tschandl, Iris ZalaudekAllan Halpern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

183 Scopus citations


Background Evolving dermoscopic terminology motivated us to initiate a new consensus. Objective We sought to establish a dictionary of standardized terms. Methods We reviewed the medical literature, conducted a survey, and convened a discussion among experts. Results Two competitive terminologies exist, a more metaphoric terminology that includes numerous terms and a descriptive terminology based on 5 basic terms. In a survey among members of the International Society of Dermoscopy (IDS) 23.5% (n = 201) participants preferentially use descriptive terminology, 20.1% (n = 172) use metaphoric terminology, and 484 (56.5%) use both. More participants who had been initially trained by metaphoric terminology prefer using descriptive terminology than vice versa (9.7% vs 2.6%, P <.001). Most new terms that were published since the last consensus conference in 2003 were unknown to the majority of the participants. There was uniform consensus that both terminologies are suitable, that metaphoric terms need definitions, that synonyms should be avoided, and that the creation of new metaphoric terms should be discouraged. The expert panel proposed a dictionary of standardized terms taking account of metaphoric and descriptive terms. Limitations A consensus seeks a workable compromise but does not guarantee its implementation. Conclusion The new consensus provides a revised framework of standardized terms to enhance the consistent use of dermoscopic terminology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1093-1106
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


  • consensus
  • dermatoscopy
  • melanoma
  • nevi
  • noninvasive diagnosis
  • nonmelanoma skin cancer
  • pigmented skin lesions
  • terminology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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