Language of Dermatology: Essential Morphologic: Terms and Definitions
Christina P. Linton

Journal of the Dermatology Nurses' Association
April 2011 
Volume 3  Number 2
Pages 102 - 103
  PDF Version Available!

MORPHOLOGY - The form or structure of an individual skin lesion.LESION - Any single area of altered skin. Lesions may be solitary or multiple.PRIMARY LESION - A lesion directly associated with the disease process that is described with established dermatological terminology.Example: Macule, papule, patch, plaque, vesicle, bulla, and othersSECONDARY LESION - Modification of a primary lesion that results from evolution of the primary lesion, traumatic injury, or other external factors.Example: Erosion, fissure, ulceration, excoriation, and othersMACULE - A circumscribed, flat area of discoloration that is less than 10 mm* in diameter.Example: FrecklePATCH - A circumscribed, flat area of discoloration that is greater than 10 mm* in diameter. Slight scale may or may not be present.Example: VitiligoPAPULE - A circumscribed, elevated, solid lesion that is less than 10 mm* in diameter.Example: WartPLAQUE - A circumscribed, elevated, solid lesion that is greater than 10 mm* in diameter and is usually broader than it is thick.Example: PsoriasisNODULE - A palpable, solid lesion that is greater than 10 mm* in diameter. Nodules are usually found in the dermal or subcutaneous tissue, and the lesion may be above, level with, or below the skin surface.Example: DermatofibromaTUMOR - A solid, firm lesion that is typically greater than 20 mm in diameter. Tumors can be above, level with, or beneath the skin surface. Also known as a mass.Example: Metastatic carcinomaWEAL - Transient, circumscribed, edematous papules or plaques caused by swelling in the dermis. Wheals may manifest with erythematous borders and pale centers and/or a narrow peripheral zone of pallor or vasoconstriction.Example: UrticariaBURROW - A thread-like linear or serpiginous (wavy, serpent-like) tunnel in the epidermis typically made by a parasite.Example: ScabiesEROSION - A shallow, moist, or crusted lesion resulting from the loss of the superficial layers of the upper epidermis only, as from friction or pressure.Example:

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