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A powerful but light fluid dermoscope

Compact, practical and functional, Dr Nigel Stollery tests Dermlite's latest scope

The manufacturer of the Dermlite range — 3Gen — is one of the key players in the production of quality dermatoscopes and offers an extensive range to suit the needs of GPs and dermatologists. 

For the past month I have been using the latest addition to the range, the Dermlite Fluid. In keeping with other Dermlites, it is a small, compact and portable device, measuring 90mm by 60mm and, with a depth of only 45mm, it is smaller than most mobile phones.  

It may be compact in size, but the same can’t be said of its practicality and functionality. With its 25mm diameter lens, it has one of the largest viewing areas available from any dermatoscope. This size of lens is shared with the Dermlite II Pro HR, but 10mm larger than the Dermlite Basic DL100.  

Extra lumination  

Similar to the Dermlite II Pro HR, the device comes with 32 bright white LED’s. Arranged in a circle around the lens, these are conveniently divided into two groups of 16, which can be illuminated independently via a small switch on the right hand side marked ‘mode’. Pressing this switches between the 16 LED and the 32 LED mode.  

I found that the 16 LED mode was bright enough for most dermoscopy, but it was nice to have the extra brightness when required.  

One thing I learnt was not to look directly into the lens from the skin side; the brightness of the LED’s left me temporarily blinded, which is important to consider if inspecting lesions close to patients’ eyes.  

Like the other Dermlite scopes, the device is powered by a rechargeable lithium battery. The LED’s are not illuminated for long on a daily basis, so the battery lasts a long time between charges. During my trial period I recharged the battery only once. The battery has an estimated life of over 1,000 charges, after which it can easily be replaced by unplugging it from within the case.  

A charger is provided in the kit, which plugs into the bottom on the scope, providing 5V DC, but the device can also be charged directly from a computer’s USB port via a standard USB lead.  

For those with a desire to document and record their dermoscopic findings, photography with the Dermlite Fluid is easy. Around the eyepiece is a standard 25mm screw thread, which can be attached directly to the front of a compatible digital camera. Auto-focusing allows the production of good quality photos for viewing and storage.  

Depending on the camera model, you may need a step-down adaptor ring. The lens is focused with a rotating focusing ring, with a simple push button switch on the left hand side of the scope. I found it easy to operate and focus with one hand.  

What makes the Dermlite Fluid different from the Pro HR is that, as the name suggests, it is a fluid immersion device. The other Dermlites use a cross-polarising filter to avoid the need for skin contact.  

When using the Dermlite Fluid, the lens has to be moistened with either oil, KY jelly or an alcohol-based disinfectant gel and then pressed against the lesion to reduce surface reflection.  

The Dermlite comes with a leather carrying case with a belt clip and magnetic clasp allowing it to be easily carried. Off the belt, it can be safely stored in the provided sturdy metal box, which is large enough to hold the scope, a USB lead for charging and the leather case. The scope is made from a durable white plastic, the lens part of which can be removed and autoclaved.  

The Dermlite Fluid provides an alternative for those who prefer oil immersion dermoscopy. There is a five-year standard warranty, which makes this a very tempting little instrument.  

An independent review by Dr Stollery, a GP in Kibworth Leicestershire  

Equipment supplied by Williams Medical Supplies

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