Skin cancer diagnosis at UZ Gent is now able without biopsy and waiting time for the results


The Dermatology Department of UZ Gent has recently started using a new device for diagnosing superficial forms of skin cancer: the confocal laser scanning microscope VivaScope 3000. Dermatologist and CRIG researcher Dr. Isabelle Hoorens

Whereas we used to work with a biopsy and analysis in the lab, we can now make a diagnosis in half an hour without a prick and without a surgical procedure.

The new scanning microscope focuses mainly on the cells in the epidermis or epidermis, the top layer of the skin. The microscope uses laser beams to scan the suspicious spot on the skin and immediately shows on the screen what exactly is going on with the cells. This allows the dermatologist to determine very precisely whether it is a malignant tumor and which treatment is most appropriate. The examination is painless and without harmful radiation. 

The technique is applied on superficial types of skin cancer, such as basal cell carcinoma, and eliminates the traditional skin biopsies and waiting time. Hence, patients are spared from the pain of the biopsy, as well as from the uncertainty during the waiting time between the biopsy and the follow up consultation with the dermatologist after a few days/weeks. The technique is now also used to prepare surgeries, as the images from the scan show exactly how much (abnormal) tissue needs to be removed by the surgeon.

Read the full news item (in Dutch) on the website of UZ Gent.


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