24 May 2022

Have you had a recent skin check with the local doctors?

Your community GP’s can provide a range of skin diagnosis and treatments locally.

About 15% of general practice consultations are related to skin problems (AFP Vol 34, No5, may 2005) and this may be growing in encounters due to more skin related disorder awareness.

A GP skin check may be done in several ways and some special devices used at examination, ie ultraviolet light or Wood’s light, magnification with blue light, dermatoscopy with oil etc.

A standard consult may take 20-30 minutes or more.

Following a skin check the doctor may want to perform further testing by using:

  1. Diascopy (compression of a microscopic slide over a cutaneous lesion);
  2. Skin scrapings and nail clippings for microscopy; perform a
  3. Skin biopsy which can be a shave biopsy (where a prominent part of the skin is shaved off);
  4. Punch biopsy in which part of the skin tissue including the epidermis (outer layer, dermis the deeper layer and sub cutaneous fat or fat under the skin) is removed. Suitable when all layers of skin need to be removed;
  5. Excision biopsy where the entire skin lesion is removed (commonest procedure);
  6. Curettage – where skin is scraped with a curette;
  7. Cauterisation – where the skin lesion is destroyed by heat, laser, freeze or chemicals.

If the procedure is going to cause pain some form of local topical or injectable anaesthetic will be used.