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Handy dermoscope offers true quality

Dr Nigel Stollery tests a pocket dermoscope that can connect to a digital camera.

Described in the instructions as a 'pocket epiluminescence microscopy device designed to view skin lesions with high magnification and clarity', the Dermlite ll Pro is the latest offering from 3Gen, a company with a long history of producing high-quality dermoscopes. It is billed as the world's first pocket dermoscope that can be attached straight to a camera.

Although this kit arrived in a large sized case, the dermoscope itself is very small and compact, smaller than the average modern mobile phone, and fits very comfortably in the hand. This is not to say that any quality has been sacrificed to achieve this. The lens itself is a large 25mm in diameter - the largest lens in its class - giving a magnification of 10X.

To switch it on, a small button is pressed on the left-hand side of the device; one push for on and another for off. This, in turn, illuminates the ring of white LEDs arranged in a circle around the lens.

There are 32 LEDs in total, which provide a very bright light source, more than enough to illuminate any skin lesion. If this is too bright, however, a matching switch on the right-hand side allows alternate LEDs to be switched off, giving half the brightness.

Once illuminated, the device is held 25mm above the skin, the eye is then placed 25-100mm above the Dermlite and it is simply moved in and out until the lesion is in focus. Using this method there is no need to use immersion fluid.

Immersion option
If immersion is preferred then this model differs from it predecessor in that a dial around the lens can be rotated, allowing a retractable face plate to emerge 15mm from the underside. Immersion fluid (oil or KY Jelly) can then be placed over the lesion and the glass plate used to press against this.

The device is powered by a lithium ion battery. The instructions advise that it will last approximately two hours after a four-hour charge. This should give enough time to view approximately 600 lesions.

Once depleted of power, the device will automatically shut down. To recharge, you simply plug it into the mains or, as an alternative, you can charge the dermoscope from a computer using a USB port.

The battery will last for approximately 1,000 recharges, after which time it can be replaced. This again seems very easy to do; the battery door slides off, the battery is unplugged and a new one inserted.

The Dermlite comes with a sturdy, custom-built leather case, complete with a belt clip. Once attached, this was very unobtrusive and allowed the device to be readily accessible in the busy clinic or surgery.

All chargers and leads are provided, as well as a detailed instruction leaflet in 11 languages.

Mole surveillance
One thing that is very useful in mole surveillance is the ability to record what one sees in the clinic, and this is where the other part of this kit comes into its own, by allowing you easily to attach it to a digital camera, using its built-in thread. The lesions are well illuminated for the photographic record, thanks to the bright LEDs in the dermoscope.

The kit allows you to perform dermoscopy efficiently and accurately.

It is simple to use, straight from the box.

- An independent review by Dr Nigel Stollery

- Equipment supplied by Williams Medical Supplies.

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