Dermatopathology is a combined specialty of dermatology and surgical pathology which focuses on skin diseases at a microscopic and cellular level. Most Dermatopathologists have been primarily trained in dermatology, and they usually work with dermatologists. The role of the dermatologist in this practice is to recognize skin diseases in relation to their appearances and associated symptoms. However, there are cases when the criteria provided is not enough to arrive at a conclusive diagnosis, so biopsies are taken so they can be examined microscopically by a trained Dermatopathologist in order to render an accurate diagnosis.
The scope of dermatopathology is broad in nature, making it challenging for the practitioners to immediately identify all diseases visually . It is estimated that there are more than 1,500 existing skin diseases that plague humans, from simple rashes to major chronic diseases such as psoriasis. Hence, familiarity in other fields of medicine and extensive background knowledge are requirements for Dermatopathologists.
Dermatologists who have completed a standard residency in dermatology are also deemed qualified for dermatopathology. A year of dermatopathology fellowship is also a requirement for dermatologists or pathologists. This fellowship entails six months of general pathology, and another six months for dermatopathology. If the necessary requirements are met, doctors will take an exam to obtain their license in order to practice.