What is a Dermatology Consultation?
A Dermatologist is a medical Physician who specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions affecting skin, hair, scalp, lips and mouth, nails or genitals. You may be referred to see a Dermatologist by your GP or Specialist, or you may decide to see a Dermatologist directly.
What is involved in a dermatology consultation?
The Dermatologist will review your medical history, ask a series of questions and examine you. As dermatology is a very visual form of medicine, they may be able to diagnose your condition directly through examining your skin directly or using a dermatascope a magnifying device.
In some cases it may be necessary to organise diagnostic tests such as skin swabs (to test for fungal, bacterial or viral conditions or sensitivities to antibiotics for treatment), blood tests (to look for markers or levels consistent with certain conditions) or a skin biopsy (where a small piece of skin is sent to a specialist pathologist for evaluation) in order to fully diagnose the conditions. Results normally take up to 10 days for blood tests, 2 weeks for biopsies, and 4 weeks for swabs due to the laboratory processes involved.
The consultation typically lasts for 20-30 minutes although some appointments can be very quick when seeing an experienced dermatologist who has extensive experience in the condition.
Based on the diagnosis the Dermatologist will describe treatment options including any risks or side-effects and the sort of results you should expect. A private prescription may be issued for any medications required. Treatment may include oral or topical medication, a procedure such as injections, cryotherapy or surgery. In some cases the Dermatologist will advise to take no action where they believe the condition will resolve on its own. Where a condition is untreatable, a Dermatologist will provide advice on how to manage living with the condition. If a Dermatologist suspects an unusual condition they may refer you to see a specialist Dermatologist as a next step. Alternatively if they suspect the involvement of other organs they may recommend a referral to another medical specialist such as an Endocrinologist.
The dermatology consultation is also an opportunity for you to ask questions about the condition, why it was contracted and how to avoid it in the future.
What are the risks or potential side effects of a dermatology consultation?
Based on the recommended treatment prescribed the Dermatologist will explain potential side-effects and the sort of results you should expect. Some treatments may not be suitable for pregnant or breast-feeding patients or patients on some forms of medication.
Is there any preparation needed before having a dermatology consultation?
It is helpful for a Dermatologist to know your full medical history to be able to make an informed analysis of potential conditions. Our clinic uses a medical history form which all new patients to the clinic are asked to complete. It is useful for you to make a note of your medical history and any current medications you are taking before the consultation to give the Dermatologist as much information as possible during the appointment. If your GP has provided a letter of referral, this is also very useful and may provide relevant background for the Dermatologist.
If you are seeing a Dermatologist for a hair-loss or scalp condition, we would recommend that you bring copies of any blood-tests you have had in the previous 18 months. If you have not had blood tests that is absolutely fine, the Dermatologist will advise in your consultation if they are necessary.
If you are concerned about potential allergens it is worth making a list of products that you regularly come into contact with, and informing your Dermatologist of these. It can also be helpful to bring a pen and paper with you to write down helpful information.
Skin should be clean, free from make-up, fragrance or polish. Wearing loose fitting clothing can help the Dermatologist examine the skin more easily.
What aftercare is required for a dermatology consultation?
In most cases the Dermatologist would want to see you for a review consultation if any results have been organised to discuss the results and the treatment plan based on those results. Once patients have been diagnosed and are being treated, a Dermatologist would typically want to see you for a review consultation in one month to two month’s time, to ensure that you are responding to treatment. If you find your condition changes or worsens before then we would recommend that you return for a review consultation sooner.
What is the cost of a dermatology consultation?
The costs involved in a dermatology consultation will include the cost of the appointment, the cost of any tests (such as swabs, blood tests or biopsies) and the cost of any treatment (such as injections or cryotherapy or surgery). You can find a copy of our fee schedule here.