Ref: Skin Lesion Terminology
- Arrangement patterns
- Fluid lesions
- Blood lesions
- General lesions
- Elevation and depression
- Cafe-au-lait: brown patches (neurofibromatosis).
- Hyperpigmentation (melanin, hemosiderin).
- Discrete: areas separated by normal skin.
- Disseminated: widespread discrete lesions.
- Generalized: covers most of body, without intervening normal skin.
- Grouped: multiple lesions grouped in one area.
- Herpetic: blisters in groups.
- Digitate: finger-shaped.
- Linear: arranged in a line.
- Serpiginous: snake-shaped.
- Stellate: star-shaped (meningococcal septicemia).
- Target: concentric rings (erythema multiforme).
- Annular: ring: dark edge, central clearing.
- Arcuate incomplete circle.
- Discoid: filled circle.
- Petaloid: merged discoids (seborrheic dermatitis).
- Polycyclic: merged circles (psoriasis).
- Livedo: hatched pattern (vasculitis).
- Reticulate: fine net-like pattern.
- Boil/furuncle: tender, deep-infection of skin.
- Bulla: large vesicle.
- Carbuncle: large furuncle.
- Crust: dried serum, blood, or pus.
- Cyst: cavity lined with epithelium, containing fluid, pus or keratin.
- Pustule: pus-containing vesicle.
- Uticaria/hives/nettle rash/weals: transient itchy swelling, due to dermal
- Vesicle: fluid collection below epidermis.
- Weal: small, derma edema, <3 days.
- Ecchymosis: bruise. Blue-black initially, from blood into tissue.
- Erythema: flushing due to capillary dilation, redness that blanches on
pressure (usu. inflammatory).
- Friable: surface bleeds easily after minor trauma.
- Hemarthrosis: bleeding into joints.
- Petechia: pinpoint, dark-red, round, blood macule.
- Purpura: a skin rash composed of petechia, doesn't blanch on pressure.
- Telangiectasia: localized dilated blood capillaries visible to naked eye, red, spidery,
blanches on pressure.
- Macule: <1cm diameter, no elevation, nonpalpable area of altered color.
- Papule: <1cm, palpable.
- Patch: macule-like, but >1cm.
- Plaque: papule-like, but >1cm.
- Lichenification: thickening, but normal markings maintained, usu. 2° to
- Nodule: elevated lesion >1cm, rounded shape since thickness same as
- Papillomatous/warty: finger-like or round projections from surface.
- Pedunculated: on a stalk having a narrower diameter on the base of
- Umbilicated: elevated with central depression (molluscum contagium, HSV).
- Atrophy: depression of surface from thinning, usu. see blood vessels and
fine surface wrinkling.
- Erosion: loss of tissue, extending to only partial thickness of epithelium.
- Excoriation: scratch marks, causing thinning.
- Fissure: linear split in dermis, located at: edge of orifice, over joint, or along
- Slope: description of edge from surrounding surface down to floor of
ulcer. Can be:
• Slope outwards (TB).
• Slope inwards (venous).
• Vertical edge (non-healing).
- Ulcer: break in epithelial surface, extending to all layers of epithelium.
- Comedone: plugged sebaceous follicle.
- Indurated: abnormal hardening.
- Malar: around zygomatic bones, aka cheekbones.
- Pruritic: itchy.
- Scaly: gross shedding of surface flakes.