Since its first introduction into medical practice, reflectance confocal microscopy (RCM) has been a valuable non-invasive diagnostic tool for the assessment of benign and malignant neoplasms of the skin. It has also been used as an adjunct for diagnosing equivocal cutaneous neoplasms that lack characteristic clinical or dermoscopic features. The use of RCM has led to a decreased number of biopsies of benign lesions. Multiple published studies show a strong correlation between RCM and histopathology thereby creating a bridge between clinical aspects, dermoscopy, and histopathology. Dermatopathologists may potentially play an important role in the interpretation of confocal images, by their ability to correlate histopathologic findings. RCM has also been shown to be an important adjunct to delineating tumoral margins during surgery, as well as for monitoring the non-surgical treatment of skin cancers. Advanced technology with smaller probes, such as the VivaScope 3000, has allowed access to lesions in previously inaccessible anatomic locations. This review explains the technical principles of RCM and describes the most common RCM features of normal skin with their corresponding histological correlation.
Anais Brasileiros de Dermatologia (2022) 97(6):697-703
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