What is Dermatopathology
Dermatopathology is pathology of the dermis or skin. Pathology is the diagnosis and study of disease.
A Dermatopathologist is a pathologist that specializes in skin, hair, and nail disorders and examines skin biopsies under a microscope in order to diagnosis disease.
Dermatologists, which are doctors specializing in the skin, hair, and nails, often work closely with Dermatopathologists in order to accurately diagnose diseases including skin cancers such as Melanoma. Dermatologists are often able to diagnose skin diseases with the naked eye based on their behavior and appearances. In some cases a Dermatologist cannot make a conclusive diagnosis with the naked eye and so a skin biopsy must be taken, processed, and then given to a Dermatopathologist to look at underneath a microscope so a conclusive diagnosis can be reached. Even after looking at the case underneath the microscope the Dermatopathologist may need to do additional specialized testing on the biopsies in order to be more accurate in their diagnosis. The Dermatopathologist will then perform special studies of the skin biopsy to gather more information and make a conclusive diagnosis.
In order to become a Dermatopathologist in the United States first one must complete a medical degree followed by three to four years of residency training in Pathology and another one to two years of fellowship training in dermatopathology.