Indian Journal of Dermatology
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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 61  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 345-346
Manual of dermatological differential diagnosis

Department of Dermatology, KPC Medical College and Hospital, Kolkata, West Bengal, India

Date of Web Publication13-May-2016

Correspondence Address:
Arijit Coondoo
Department of Dermatology, KPC Medical College and Hospital, Kolkata, West Bengal
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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How to cite this article:
Coondoo A. Manual of dermatological differential diagnosis. Indian J Dermatol 2016;61:345-6

How to cite this URL:
Coondoo A. Manual of dermatological differential diagnosis. Indian J Dermatol [serial online] 2016 [cited 2021 Oct 20];61:345-6. Available from:

Author: Dr. Debabrata Bandyopadhyay

Publisher: CBS Publishers and Distributors Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi, India

Location: New Delhi, India

Year of Publication: 2015

Pages: 328

Price: Rs. 315

ISBN: 9788123929422

Dermatology, as an independent medical specialty, has constantly been extending its boundaries embracing within its gamut newer sub-specialties such as dermatosurgery, cosmetology, and esthetic dermatology. An unexpected and unwanted fall-out of this expansion has been the gradual erosion in the relevance of the mother subject of clinical dermatology. However, with a large number of newer diseases and newer variants of existing diseases being described in the recent decades, clinical dermatology has itself been reaching newer horizons as evidenced by the ever-increasing number of volumes of the latest editions of established and popular textbooks. This increase in the number of diseases and their variants along with the plethora of new syndromes and signs described down the years also translates into confounding confusions for the clinicians as well as the dermatology students and residents. The more the number of diseases, the more is the difficulty in differentiating one from the other. This problem is further compounded by the effort needed to consult huge volumes of textbooks to differentiate one disease from the other or one syndrome from another.

Dr. Debabrata Bandyopadhyay is a senior dermatologist of considerable repute as a clinician, based out of Kolkata, India. He is a brilliant academician who has been teaching dermatology over several decades to generations of students who vouch for his inherent capability to transmit his vast knowledge to them in a lucid and scholarly manner. It is this profound understanding of the subject that has enabled him to sympathetically fathom the problems faced by students and clinicians in differentiating diseases and has led him to publish a concise, compact, and comprehensive treatise on the differential diagnosis of dermatological disorders. Indeed, his love for his students is evident from the manner in which he has dedicated the book to his students “who are a constant source of inspiration” for him.

The book itself has been divided into five reader-friendly sections. Section 1 deals with the morphology and arrangement of diseases in alphabetical order starting from acneiform lesions to yellow lesions. The list of morphological entities and the diseases which exhibit them is quite exhaustive – indeed, it may a bit too extensive for the student to memorize. However, the fault, if any, lies with the subject of dermatology rather than the author. Section 2 dealing with regional diseases, has again been arranged in alphabetical order. Once again the list is quite exhaustive and reader-friendly. Section 3 deals with “cutaneous signs.” Prof. Bandyopadhyay has painstakingly compiled all the cutaneous signs described in dermatology textbooks. His deep understanding of the subject, as well as the needs of the students, is reflected in his description of 196 signs in just 14 pages. With dermatological signs being described at the rate of almost a dozen a year, one is sure that by the time the next edition of the book is published, there will be many more signs to describe, and this section will cover many more pages.

Section 4 dealing with “dermatoses and drugs” is a pharmacotherapeutic section and describes a large number of disorders such as fixed drug eruption caused by drugs. This section basically deals with the etiology of drug eruptions and cannot strictly be classified under differential diagnosis. However, this is another section which will go a long way in helping clinicians who are frustrated in their efforts to single out a particular drug causing the clinical sign presented by the patient.

Section 5, the most extensive section, covering more than half of the book deals with “diagnostic features of dermatoses.” It is here that the reader can translate his knowledge gathered in the earlier sections into the description of concrete diseases. More than 600 diseases have been described. Covering the clinical features of so many diseases in just 167 pages is a highly commendable feat. In spite of this, it is remarkable that none of the diseases which are important clinically and academically have been missed. However, one wishes that the full-text format rather than the note format (with its near total exclusion of verbs) was used in the description of diseases. It can only be surmised that the latter was used to keep the size of the book within hand-held, manageable proportions.

Overall, the book is a must-read and a must-keep for all academicians – be they students, teachers, or research workers. Dr. Bandyopadhyay has transcribed his immense knowledge of dermatology and intense passion for the subject and his students into a concise, readable, and memorable treatise in the most comprehensive manner possible. A connoisseur of dermatological literature can only hope that this disquisition is just a prelude to the publication of a full-scale textbook to be authored by this erudite dermatologist in the near future.


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