Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Dermatology Online Journal

Dermatology Online Journal bannerUC Davis

Adult and Pediatric Dermatology: A color guide to diagnosis and treatment. by Lowell Goldsmith, Gerald Lazarus, and Michael Tharp.

Main Content

Adult and Pediatric Dermatology:
A color Guide to Diagnosis and Treatment
Lowell A. Goldsmith, M.D.
Gerald S. Lazarus, M.D., F.A.C.P.
Michael D. Tharp, M.D.
F.A. Davis Company, Philadelphia 1997
628 pages. Suggested retail price: $59.95
ISBN 0-8036-0146-8


This atlas and textbook of dermatology by three distinguished American authors has just been released in a second edition. Generously illustrated with color images, it is divided into 3 parts: an overview of skin examination and desciption of clinical diagnosis, monographs on over 450 common skin problems (organized by their basic lesions), and general therapeutic principles for the clinician including tables of drugs and dosages. There is also an Index of Differential Diagnosis. The first section begins with a chapter on basic terminology of physical diagnosis of the skin. This chapter is followed by one on techniques of examination of the skin. These chapters are concise and well illustrated, adequate for the needs of the non-specialist.
The majority of the book is devoted to diseases of the skin, grouped according to the predominant physical finding (some examples include acquired blue macules, localized brown macules, scattered red macules). Within each group a differential diagnosis is included. Disease discussions are short, usually limited to one page including a large color illustration. Typical subheadings of each discussion include morphology, distribution, patient profile diagnosis and treatment. Each disease also has cartoon figures illustration the distribution of involvement.

The third section consists of 12 pages of notes on the basis of dermatologic therapy. While there are some sound therapeutic principles, it is too brief to give any depth to the topic.

The illustrations are profuse but of uneven quality. While some images are outstanding, others have poor color balance. For example, the illustration of lichen planus of the legs has orange-red skin and brown-black lesions with the important detail of the lesions difficult to appreciate. Many of the images could have been improved by the use of color correction by publisher.

The copy editors missed some of the detail, such as the table listing differential diagnosis of papular diseases involving the nail folds, where references to 6 of the diseases were to "p.000". There are also some inconsistent recommendations about disease treatment between section II and section III. For example, the treatment of herpes simplex with acyclovir in section II is stated as 400 mg five times a day for 10 days, and in section III is stated as 200 mg five times a day for 5 days.

Overall, this text presents a thoughtful approach to diagnosis of skin disease based on lesion morphology and distribution. The number of diseases covered and the accompanying illustrations is impressive.

This book is recommended for medical students learning dermatology, and for general physicians as a practice reference. The shortcomings are minor and the recommended price is a bargain in today's market, especially considering the profuse illustration with color images.

by Arthur C. Huntley, M.D.
Department of Dermatology
University of California, Davis

© 1997 Dermatology Online Journal