Methods to Record and Analyze Dermatoglyphics

There are several ways to record the dermal ridge patterns of the hands and feet. The first way is to evaluate the patterns with a magnifying glass, preferably one that has an integrated lamp like an otoscope, or a device used by stamp collectors. For recording the dermal ridge patterns, prints can be made in several ways.

Ink staining Ink can be used to stain the patient's hands and feet, applied with a roller on a pre-inked pad, and distributed as evenly as possible (Fig. 12.4). The print is made by pressing a piece of paper against the

Figure 12.4 Recording dermatoglyphics by the ink staining method.

Figure 12.4 Recording dermatoglyphics by the ink staining method.

palm, or letting the patient stand on a piece of paper (it might be easier to have the patient roll the hand over a roller covered with a piece of paper large enough to obtain a print of the whole hand). Backing the paper with a soft material allows the fingers to "sink into" the paper and results in better prints. Usually each fingertip pattern is also recorded by rolling it separately from side to side.

Photographic emulsion Instead of ink, a clear resensitizing fluid and photographic paper can be used. The technique for recording is the same. This method does not work as well for infants or on smooth lower ridges.

Graphite Another alternative is to rub the patient's hands and feet with a soft graphite pencil.A print is taken by placing a broad piece of clear adhesive tape with the sticky side against the palm or sole. The adhesive tape is removed and can then be glued onto a white paper for better contrast and analysis. This method is particularly applicable for infants.

Photocopying The hands and feet of an individual may be placed on a photocopying machine. The paper photocopies allow analysis of dermatoglyphics, but this is not a very precise method of obtaining dermatoglyphic data.

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