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Clin Plast Surg. 2010 Jan;37(1):1-20. doi: 10.1016/j.cps.2009.07.003.

Pigmented lesion pathology: what you should expect from your pathologist, and what your pathologist should expect from you.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, Medical College of Wisconsin, 8701 Watertown Plank Road, Milwaukee, WI 53226, USA.


The first part of this review examines the reliability of histologic diagnosis in pigmented lesions, as measured by concordance studies and medicolegal analysis. It emphasizes the role of clinicians in maximizing that reliability, by providing adequate clinical descriptions, using appropriate biopsy technique, and critically interpreting pathology reports. It identifies those entities that are especially problematic, either because they cannot be reliably recognized by the histopathologist or because their histology is a poor guide to their biologic behavior. The second part of the review is a guide to some of the more difficult and controversial pigmented lesions, including dysplastic nevus, spitzoid nevi and melanomas, cellular blue nevus, animal-type melanoma, and deep penetrating nevus.

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