Pathology with an iPhone. Yes, it’s really that simple!

Feb. 25, 2021
Take a look at this case. If you can’t come up with at least three differentials, it’s time to get your pathology skills up to speed.

Leonardo da Vinci said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” In a dental world where things are complicated enough, I think we sometimes make things more complex than they should be. I’ve talked about intraoral cameras, ways to take x-rays on kiddos (now that was controversial!), tips to assess the efficacy of your light cures, all the way to staff management and talk of money. I’ve covered just about everything, but I try to keep it simple at the heart of what I talk and write about.

Take, for instance, this photo. A healthy 67-year-old male presents for an exam with no concerns or complaints. Head and neck assessment revealed a 12 mm x 9 mm leukoplakic, irregular-bordered lesion on the lower lip. The lesion did not scrape off. There was no pain. But the location and “look” of it was enough not to ignore.

In less than five minutes, I whipped out my iPhone, snapped a picture, showed it to the patient, emailed it to my front desk to drop in the patient’s chart, texted it to my oral surgeon colleague for his thoughts, and dismissed the patient with instructions to see him back in two to three weeks. Done and done.

What are your differentials? I’ve got mine. If you can’t give me at least three, then let’s get your path skills up to speed. This is the place to do just that.

Here are my take-home points. Maximization of available resources. Don’t hesitate to take action on things that look harmless or nonpathological. And last but not least…keep it simple. I can’t make it any simpler than that!

More to come on this one, so stay tuned! And…if you’ve a mind, send me your pathology pics for posting and publication.

Cheers! S

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Editor’s note: This article first appeared in Through the Loupes newsletter, a publication of the Endeavor Business Media Dental Group. Read more articles at this link and subscribe here.

Stacey L. Gividen, DDS, a graduate of Marquette University School of Dentistry, is in private practice in Hamilton, Montana. She is a guest lecturer at the University of Montana in the anatomy and physiology department. Dr. Gividen is the editorial codirector of Through the Loupes and a contributing author for DentistryIQPerio-Implant Advisory, and Dental Economics. She serves on the Dental Economics editorial advisory board. You may contact her at [email protected].