Understanding Dermatopathology

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Understanding Dermatopathology

Caring for the Health and Beauty of Skin for over 40 years

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Dermatopathology is the field of study dedicated to the examination of skin specimens under a microscope. Often, a dermatologist is required to take a small sample of skin for analysis in order to diagnose a rash or skin cancer. The dermatopathologist is the physician specifically trained to interpret this skin specimen. Dr. Ramsay Farah has received this highly specialized training and is board certified in Dermatopathology as well as Dermatology. It is often advantageous to have the dermatologist who is evaluating the patient in the clinic also interpret the skin biopsy specimen. At Farah Dermatology Center, our doctors can do both! Please click on the link below and go to the section for the general public at the American Society of Dermatopathology’s website.

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Frequently Asked Questions

This section is designed to help answer some of our most frequently asked questions. Still, have a question? Always feel free to give us a call and we'd be happy to get you an answer.

Dermatopathology is the study and interpretation of skin disease under a microscope by a highly trained physician (dermatopathologist).

Often your dermatologist may see a growth or rash on your skin that they are unable to identify.  If this is the case, they would perform a skin biopsy (take a sample) and send it to a dermatopathology lab. 

The lab receives this tissue, processes it, and makes slides that can be examined under a microscope.

The dermatopathologist is a highly trained physician who looks into the microscopes and makes a diagnosis.  Is this is skin cancer?  What type of rash does the patient have?  These are the questions that can be answered by the dermatopathologist

A dermatopathologist is a medical doctor or doctor of osteopathic medicine (MD or DO) who has finished a residency training in either the general fields of Dermatology or Pathology. 

They then go on to do an additional year or two of training in the subspecialty field of Dermatopathology.  This additional specialized training is called and Fellowship. 

After completing this Fellowship they are eligible to take a board exam, which certifies them to practice in this field if they pass the test.

Yes.  A Dermatologist who is also a Dermatopathologist has the unique ability to correlate what is being seen on the person’s skin with what they are seeing under the microscope if a biopsy is taken.  This is called ‘clinical-pathologic correlation’ and it can help increase the diagnostic accuracy of the biopsy test.  A dermatologist who is a dermatopathologist can truly be the ‘Sherlock Holmes of Skin.

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