Friday, December 16, 2011

What Exactly Is A Dermatologist? by Nick Messe

A dermatologist is a specialized doctor that uses medical and surgical treatments for the skin and its diseases. A dermatologist also works on the cosmetic concerns with the skin, scalp, hair and nails. A dermatologist must first earn a medical degree such as an MD or DO. After the medical degree is earned they will need to complete 4 more years of general training. During the 4 years of this training, they will obtain an initial medical and surgical internship followed by three years of residency within dermatology.

Once this training is complete, there are many one to two year post-residency fellowships. This field is highly competitive within the United States. Within dermatology there are subspecialties as well. A cosmetic dermatologist is trained on the use of Botox, fillers and laser surgery which includes wrinkle laser treatments. They are able to provide face lifts, blepharoplasty and liposuction.

A dermatopathology specializes in the pathology of the skin. Training for this specialty includes one year of dermatopathology fellowship which could include 6 months of general pathology and six months of dermatopathology. Immunodermatology specializes in immune related skin diseases which could include lupus, pemphigus vulgaris, bullous pemphigoid and other immune related disorders. Many, who specialize in this field, also run their own immunopathology lab.

Those who are working on skin cancer treatments will become a Mohs surgeon. This kind of surgeon focuses on excising skin cancer with a tissue sparing technique. Those who go into this specialty will need to be trained first in pathology and surgery. There are additional training resources as preceptorship to join the American Society for Mohs surgery or completing a formal one to two year fellowship offered by the American College of Mohs Surgery.

Pediatric dermatologists specialize in working with children. Their residency consists of both pediatric and dermatology. Some diseases that this specialist would work with include neonates, genordermatoses, and hereditary skin diseases while also addressing the unique needs of a pediatric patient.

Teledermatology uses telecommunication technologies to exchange medical information through various forms of media. This media is usually created by a non-dermatologist who is seeking information on a skin condition. They are able to provide second opinion services for experts. They also use the exchange of media to complete follow-ups of individuals that have a chronic skin condition.

There are many different therapies that a dermatologist can complete. Intralesional treatment includes the use of steroids or chemotherapy. To treat skin cancer and precancerous growths, they will use photodynamic therapy. Phototherapy involves the use of narrowband UVB, broadband UVB, psoralen and UVB. Cryosurgery deals with warts, skin cancers or other skin conditions.

Most dermatologists are able to do radiation therapy in their office. Other cosmetic therapies provided include liposuction, hair transplantation, cosmetic filler injections, laser hair removal or laser management of birth marks, tattoo removals, skin disorders and other cosmetic resurfacing and rejuvenation. For conditions that require medicinal therapies, a dermatologist will use systemic therapies as well as topical therapies.