A dermatopathologist is a medical doctor who specializes in diagnosing skin disorders under a microscope. His subspecialty is a combination of both dermatology, which is the diagnosis and treatment of skin, nail, and hair diseases, and pathology, which focuses on the identification of diseases. Dermatopathologists are like detectives, who need to make microscopic observations of skin cell and tissue samples, as well as evaluate the information given to them by the physician who performed the biopsy, to make a definitive diagnosis.
How does one become a dermatopathologist?
A person must successfully complete many years of education to become a dermatopathologist. Requirements include a bachelor's degree, medical school, internship, residency, medical fellowship, and passing the board exam in dermatopathology. Only after completing these requirements can a doctor become a board-certified dermatopathologist.
Dermatologists and dermatopathologists
Often, dermatologists simply treat a skin problem based on his face-to-face consultation with the patient and his perception of the condition. However, sometimes a more accurate diagnosis is needed, and this is when the expertise of a dermatopathologist becomes necessary. After doing some tests on the sample that the dermatologist has sent him, the dermatopathologist then relays his findings in a written report. This report is what the dermatologist uses to determine the best course of treatment for the patient.