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Volume 2018, Article ID 1581495, 4 pages
Research Article

The Role of Scanning Electron Microscopy in the Direct Diagnosis of Onychomycosis

1Department of Dermatology, Beijing Tian Tan Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing 100050, China
2Department of Dermatology & Venereology, Peking University First Hospital and Research Center for Medical Mycology, Peking University, Beijing 100034, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Aiping Wang; moc.361@615pagnaw and Qing Li; moc.liamtoh@0566kfpttjb

Received 30 May 2017; Revised 4 August 2017; Accepted 10 August 2017; Published 9 January 2018

Academic Editor: Antonio Checco

Copyright © 2018 Xueping Yue et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Purpose. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the role of scanning electron microscopy (SEM) in the direct diagnosis of suspected onychomycosis with negative mycological test results. Methods. Outpatients diagnosed with suspected onychomycosis with negative mycological test results, including direct microscopic examination with 10% potassium hydroxide (KOH) and fungal culture, on 3 separate occasions were recruited. A small piece of infected nail was obtained for SEM examination. Results. Among the 48 suspected onychomycosis samples, SEM revealed that 18 (37.5%) were positive for fungal structures, including 10 (20.8%) cases of hyphae and 8 (16.7%) cases of yeast blastospores or budding. Conclusion. SEM represents an effective method to diagnose suspected onychomycosis when the traditional mycological methods were negative. Therefore, this technique could be used in clinical practice.