There are many reasons why you would visit a Dermatologist but the most common cause is for Skin Cancer, Warts, and Acne. For acne and warts you would want to visit a General Dermatologist which have training that covers all aspects of the epidermis. Dermatologists spend three years in a Dermatology specific residency program that teaches them nothing but issues about your skin. The United States has the best Dermatologists in the world coupled with the best dermatologic medicine. To learn more about the various skin conditions treated by General Dermatologists visit: Skin Condition Overview Here
The other common reason to see a dermatologist is for Skin Cancer which is the most common form of cancer. Dermatologists go through advanced training in the surgical and medicinal treatment of Skin Cancers. There are three main types of Skin cancer which are Basal Cell Carcinoma, Squamous Cell Carcinoma, and Melanoma(least common). Read more details about these skin cancers and what they look like here: Skin Cancers Overview
These cancers are most often removed surgically and require a pathologist to read the removed tissue to make sure that all of the cancer was removed during surgery. Your traditional Dermatologists send out the specimen to be read by a pathologist and must wait 1-2 weeks before they know if the cancer was cleared. If the cancer still remains in a particular area, then the Dermatologic Surgeon must make another excision to remove what was left. This specimen must also be sent off to make sure that the skin cancer is clear. If not, repeat the process until cancer completely removed. As you can see, this could be a very traumatizing, expensive, and time consuming process. This is where the sub-specialty of mohs surgery comes into the picture. With Mohs Surgery, specially trained dermatologic surgeons are able to excise the cancer and read the pathology all at the same visit. Mohs Surgeons must go through extensive training in Dermatopathology before being able to accurately discern what the type, size, stage, and depth of the cancer is. There is a detailed overview of the different training available for Dermatologists here: ACMS- American College of Mohs Surgery vs ASMS-American Society of Mohs Surgery
There are some major differences in Mohs College trained vs Mohs Society trained and it is important that you understand these differences before scheduling an appointment or just letting anyone do your surgery.
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