Specialty Area: Dermatology

Description of Specialty: The structure and diagnosis of skin disorders including disorders of adnexal structures (sweat glands, oil glands, hair and nails).

1. Diagnosis: Acne

Questions that should be asked:

  1. Is my make-up a causative factor?
  2. If so, what brand should I use? Is my soap a problem?
  3. If I'm planning on becoming pregnant, will I need to change my treatment regimen?
  4. Do I need oral medicine to control the acne or can I use a topical method?
  5. Will my oral contraceptives be a problem if I'm on oral antibiotics?
  6. Are the generic forms as beneficial as the brand-name items?

2. Diagnosis: Seborrheic Dermatitis

Questions that should be asked:

  1. Will a shampoo be sufficient to control the disorder?
  2. Which shampoo will benefit my scalp and not harm my hair?
  3. Are there any medicines that can be used other than cortisone if it is to be used on a long term basis?

3. Diagnosis: Tinea Infectious (ringworm, athlete's foot, jock itch)

Questions that should be asked:

  1. Should the diagnosis be confirmed by either a culture or KOH (microscopic) exam?
  2. Are the over-the-counter products as good as the prescriptions ones?
  3. Should the condition be treated indefinitely?
  4. If I need an oral antifungal drug, are liver-monitoring tests necessary?
  5. Are there any serious drug interactions if placed on an oral drug?
  6. What causes it?
  7. Is it contagious?
  8. How can I avoid getting it?
  9. What is the best treatment?
  10. Is topical treatment as good as oral?
  11. Are there severe complications to oral treatments?
  12. Is there a difference between fungal infections of the scalp, body and nails?

4. Diagnosis: Eczema (dermatitis)

Questions that should be asked:

  1. Can the cortisone product be used anywhere/everywhere on the body?
  2. Is there a time limit on usage of the product?
  3. Are there alternative products to use without cortisone present?
  4. What are the side effects of topical/oral chronic cortisone use?

5. Diagnosis: Actinic Keratosis (pre-Cancers)

Questions that should be asked:

  1. Can these be treated medically, or is surgery the only way?
  2. Will the scars that result be worse than merely observing without treatment?
  3. What can I do to prevent further lesions from occurring?

6. Diagnosis: Basal Cell Carcinomas

Questions that should be asked:

  1. What are the various treatment possibilities; i.e. what different methods of surgery are indicated?
  2. Are the resulting scars different?
  3. Are the cure rates different?
  4. Do only certain surgeons perform certain techniques?

7. Diagnosis: Psoriasis

Questions that should be asked:

  1. Are there safer ways of treating this disorder (i.e., topically vs. oral vs. ultra-violet light)?
  2. What are the corresponding risks of the different treatments?
  3. Do any offer longer-lasting results?
  4. If I'm planning on a pregnancy, will any drug interfere with the pregnancy or with future pregnancies?
  5. Are there any new treatments?

8. Diagnosis: Urticaria (hives)

Questions that should be asked:

  1. Are there any medications that can be used that won't cause drowsiness?
  2. Am I on any medications that can be causing/worsening the condition?
  3. Do I need any laboratory tests?
  4. Are any tests conclusive as to the cause?
  5. Would a biopsy help?

9. Diagnosis: Warts

Questions that should be asked:

  1. Is surgery necessary?
  2. Can the over-the-counter products work?
  3. What is the recurrence rate?
  4. What is the contiguousness?

10. Diagnosis: Pruritus (itching)

Questions that should be asked:

  1. Can any laboratory test signify the cause of the itching?
  2. Are there any methods of controlling the itching other than oral medicines?
  3. Can a biopsy help in making a diagnosis?
  4. Do I need a general medical evaluation?

11. Diagnosis: Lasers in Dermatology

Questions that should be asked:

  1. Is the procedure covered by insurance?
  2. If not, is there another method which would also be effective, yet cheaper?
  3. Is it painful?
  4. Are there complications (i.e. scarring, bruising, pain, pigment change)?
  5. What is the healing time?
  6. What lesions do lasers work on?
  7. Is one laser machine better on one particular lesion than another?

12. Diagnosis: Poison Ivy/Oak (contact dermatitis)

Questions that should be asked:

  1. How do I identify these plants?
  2. If I'm allergic to one, will I be allergic to the other?
  3. What is the best way to kill the plant?
  4. Is the ooze from the blisters contagious?
  5. How quickly after exposure will I break out?
  6. What is the duration of the outbreak?
  7. Is there a preventive cream?
  8. Is there a time-window in which I can wash the plant oil off and not break out?
  9. Can I safety burn the plant?
  10. Is it still contagious in the winter?
  11. What are the best treatments?
  12. Why is one better than another?

Jerome M. Aronberg, M.D. Clinical Assistant Professor of Dermatology Washington University School of Medicine St. Louis, MO


Home Page