Book review: A practical approach to differential diagnosis

This beautifully illustrated book can help GPs to help their patients, writes Dr Nigel Stollery

Atlas of Dermatopathology: Practical Differential Diagnosis by Clinicopathologic Pattern

Edited by Gunter Burg, Werner Kempf, Heinz Kutzner et al


ISBN 978-1-118-65831-4

£99.99 (hardcover)

For many clinicians, the only training they received in histopathology was a few Friday afternoon tutorials in the early days of medical school, where most of the slides, with their pink and purple tones, looked remarkably similar. 

This would have been adequate for most, because thankfully, some went on to specialise in the field and 

now produce fantastically detailed histology reports, which can help us to help our patients.

Having said that, the world of histopathology can be fascinating and even a basic understanding can be very useful in the management of skin conditions.

For those who do wish to learn more, this new book, first published in 2015, is aimed at pathologists and dermatologists, but would be equally valuable to any dermatology specialist or GPSI in dermatology. 

Entitled the Atlas Of Dermatopathology: Practical Differential Diagnosis by Clinicopathologic Pattern, the book consists of 357 pages divided into eight chapters. 

It follows a basic approach to morphology, starting with the cornified layers of the epidermis and working downwards through the skin.

As the preface explains, the authors’ approach is compared to the study of paintings, whereby the larger field is viewed initially, followed by a more detailed look at the finer detail, allowing for the identification of clues within each step.

In the chapters, for each condition there is a high-quality image of its clinical appearance, with a brief description of the clinical features. This is followed by its histomorphology, at both a scanning magnification and a higher-powered magnification, with a description of the histological features shown. 

The various differential diagnoses and similar descriptions of the conditions are outlined. Finally, other diagnoses and useful references are provided. 

For about £100, this book is both beautifully illustrated and very easy to follow, and would be a great addition to the library of anyone with an interest in dermatology.

  • Dr Nigel Stollery is a GPSI in dermatology in Kibworth, Leicestershire
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