Dermatology is the branch of medicine that has to do with the skin, hair, and diseases that are associated with them. This specialty has both surgical and medical components. The individual that practices dermatology is called a dermatologist. In other words, a dermatologist is a doctor that focuses on the treatment of diseases of the skin, scalp, hair and the nails. Dermatologists are capable of performing various types of procedures. This ranges from treatment procedures for skin diseases such as cancer, noncancerous, and precancerous conditions. The kind of service or procedure a dermatologist will perform depends on the diagnosis, and state of health of the patient. This piece would focus on some of the common procedures dermatologists perform.
What Are The Factors That Influences The Choice Of Treatment Procedure?
Some of the factors that influence the type of treatment procedure a dermatologist performs include the following;
- The type of disease the patient has: This could range from cancer of the skin to noncancerous diseases, and precancerous skin growth.
- The part of the body the disease is located.
- The size, number and how aggressive the tumor
- The general health of the patient.
- The adverse effects of the procedure, complications, and the advantages.
- How many of such procedure the dermatologists have done in the past.
The case of each patient is different, so the dermatologist has to decide on which procedure to use, considering the factors above. The dermatologist would ask for the medical history of the patient, perform and examine the patient, then form a diagnosis based on what he/she observes. If there is a possibility that the patient might have skin cancer, the dermatologist would have to do a skin biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. Below are some questions the patient might ask the dermatologist before treatment;
- Do I have a skin cancer?
- What type of skin cancer is it?
- What is the stage of the growth?
- What are the available treatment options?
- Which one would the dermatologist recommend?
- What are the advantages and side effects of the procedure?
- Will the procedure causes pain?
- Will the procedure leave a scar?
- How long before I fully recover, and continue my daily activities?
- What is the follow-up care?
What Are Some Of The Common Procedures Performed By A Dermatologist?
- Skin Biopsy
This is one of the most common procedures performed by a dermatologist. It’s a simple procedure that is done under local anesthesia. The dermatologist does this by injecting a little amount of anesthesia into the affected area. This is done to numb the area, the dermatologist then proceeds to take a piece of the growth. This would be sent to the laboratory, where it’d be examined under the microscope for further evaluation. A bandage would be placed on the wound to prevent bleeding, and the doctor would explain the necessary care the patient can do to care for the wound. Usually, it takes some days, or weeks before the result comes out. The result would tell if the patient has a cancerous, non-cancerous, or precancerous disease. If the patient has a cancerous disease, the result would also indicate the exact type of cancer the patient has, and the stage of the cancer growth. There are different ways of performing a skin biopsy. Dermatologists choose the technique to use, based on the location of the disease, and the type of skin growth. Below are some of these techniques;
- Shave biopsy: In this technique of biopsy, the dermatologist uses a surgical blade to cut a superficial slide of the growth or just a part of the growth. The would leave after the biopsy heals by itself, and doesn’t require any form of stitching. The scar associated with the shave biopsy is minimal. However, this depends on how deep the shave biopsy is. The deeper the biopsy, the more visible the shape of the scar would be.
- Punch biopsy: In punch biopsy, a small cylindrical instrument is used to cut the growth or just a part of the growth. One of the differences between this type of technique and shave biopsy is that the wound has to be stitched. This is done side by side. However, the punch biopsy allows for a deeper sampling of the growth. The stitches are usually removed after 7 to 14 days, depending on the part of the body affected.
- Excisional biopsy: This is done by using a surgical blade to fully remove the growth. The wound has to be stitched on two sides. If nondissolvable stitches are used. They’d be removed after about 7 to 14 days.
In cryosurgery, liquid nitrogen is used to eliminate single or multiple growths. This is done by freezing the skin growths, before destroying them. A special canister is used to spray liquid oxygen on the skin growth. This procedure does not require the use of local anesthesia. It doesn’t cause a lot of discomfort to the patient. After the growth has been frozen, it forms a scab which falls off by itself after about 7 days to 21 days. A black blister might form on the area the growth fell off from. You shouldn’t be worried, as this is normal. The more superficial the freezing is, the less the scar formed. On the other hand, the deeper the freezing, the more the scar formed. After this procedure has been completed, your dermatologist will explain the kind of postoperative wound care the patient should do.
- Conservative Excision
This is done by removing the portion of the growth, or the full growth. This procedure is done by the dermatologist under anesthesia. It’s done by first injecting a little amount of anesthesia into the area, to make it numb. After this is achieved, the dermatologist will proceed to cut the growth and stitch it afterward.
Dermatologist Near Me
It’s important to see a dermatologist when you notice a growth on your skin that wouldn’t go away. A dermatologist can examine, and make a diagnosis. The earlier diseases are diagnosed, the better the prognosis.
Black, M. and Marshman, G. (2010). Dermatology and pemphigus vulgaris: Association or coincidence?. Australasian Journal of Dermatology, 52(2), pp.e11-e14.
Greenberg, S. (2014). Sustained autoimmune mechanisms in dermatomyositis. The Journal of Pathology, 233(3), pp.215-216.
Lam, C. and Vleugels, R. (2012). Management of cutaneous bruises. Dermatologic Therapy, 25(2), pp.112-134.
Scadden, D. and Srivastava, A. (2012). Advancing Stem Cell Biology toward Stem Cell Therapeutics. Cell Stem Cell, 10(2), pp.149-150.