, Volume 153, Issue 2, pp 71-75

First online:

The importance of microscopic examination in the management of desquamative diseases of the scalp

  • Ismael A. Conti DiazAffiliated withDepartment of Parasitology, School of Medicine, Montevideo
  • , Eduardo CivilaAffiliated withDepartment of Parasitology, School of Medicine, Montevideo
  • , Rafael VeigaAffiliated withDepartment of Parasitology, School of Medicine, Montevideo

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After determining the usual malassezic biota of the scalp in adult, normal persons, 259 patients with different desquamative diseases were studied by a simple adhesive tape technique. The main purpose of this study was to investigate the utility of this technique to improve the diagnosis and treatment of patients. Most patients with seborrhoeic dermatitis and sebopsoriasis demonstrated large numbers of {it Malassezia} spp. cells corresponding to the so called ``pityrosporosis''. Only 43.6% of patients with pityriasis capitis (dandruff) presented with such a diagnosis. Symptomatic pityrosporosis of the scalp should be treated with imidazolic derivatives or other antifungal substances. Patients with psoriasis of the scalp showed a typical microscopic picture represented by parakeratosic (nucleated) keratinocytes with absence of lipophilic yeasts which should be attributed to the usual dryness of the scales .Microbial epidermitis (eczema) of the scalp revealed another characteristic picture constituted by abundant leukocytes and bacteria without the presence of yeasts. The different microscopic pictures seen with this simple technique for diseases of the scalp, offer an adjunct to make a proper diagnosis and to establish a convenient treatment in cases which are not clinically well defined.

adhesive tape Malassezia malasseziasis scalp diseases