In Vivo Reflectance Confocal Microscopy for Inflammatory Diseases

  • Marco ArdigoEmail author
  • Chiara Franceschini
  • Flavia Persechino


In vivo reflectance confocal microscopy (RCM) is a relatively novel noninvasive tool for real-time microscopic evaluation of the skin. The device is used prevalently for the diagnosis and management of skin tumor as melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer.

Its lateral resolution of 0.5 micron lets microscopic evaluation of tissue close to cellular details.

Despite, to date, no large comparative studies on inflammatory skin diseases have been published in literature, several papers already showed that RCM has a potential for the evaluation of the descriptive features of the most common inflammatory skin diseases as psoriasis, lupus erythematosus, contact dermatitis, and others.

The aim of the application of this technique in non-neoplastic skin diseases has been prevalently focused on the possibility of clinical diagnosis confirmation, as well as therapeutic management.

Moreover, the use of RCM as driver for an optimized skin biopsy has been also followed in order to reduce the number of unsuccessful histopathological examination.

In this chapter, the major confocal features of the most common inflammatory skin disorders are described with focus on psoriasiform dermatitis, interface dermatitis, and spongiotic dermatitis.


Reflectance confocal microscopy Psoriasiform dermatitis Spongiotic dermatitis Interface dermatitis Treatment follow-up Biopsy site selection Differential diagnosis 



Allergic contact dermatitis


Dermo–epidermal junction


Discoid lupus erythematosus


Irritant contact dermatitis


Lichen planus


Plaque psoriasis


Reflectance confocal microscopy


Seborrheic dermatitis


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marco Ardigo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Chiara Franceschini
    • 1
  • Flavia Persechino
    • 1
  1. 1.Clinical DermatologySan Gallicano Institute IRCCSRomeItaly

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