When assessing the skin, it’s important to document your findings using the correct terminology to describe skin lesions. Here’s a quick A-to-Z guide to describing skin lesions.
Bullae – Raised; fluid-filled; greater than 1 cm
Burrow – Small linear or serpiginous pathways in the epidermis
Carbuncle – multiple inflamed hair follicles (furuncles)
Furuncles – Inflamed hair follicle
Macules – Flat; smaller than 1 cm
Nodule – Raised, larger and deeper than a papule
Papules – Raised; smaller than 1 cm
Patches – Flat; greater than 1 cm
Plaques – Raised; greater than 1 cm
Pustules – Small; palpable; appear white
Subcutaneous mass/cyst – encapsulated collections of fluid or semisolid; may be mobile or fixed
Vesicles – Raised; fluid-filled; less than 1 cm
Wheals – Localized edema; evanesces (comes and goes) within 1-2 days
Bickley, L. S., Szilagyi, P. G., Hoffman, R. M., & Soriano, R. P. (2021). Bate’s Guide to Physical Examination and History Taking (13th ed.). Wolters Kluwer Health: Philadelphia.