What “Board Certified in Dermatology” Means to You
What is the difference between a board-certified dermatologist and other “providers”? It is a subject little known to most patients, but it makes all the difference in the quality of care you receive. Many providers claim to be “skin specialists”, but few have very little real actual training in dermatology.
Some “providers” claim to be skin specialists, but have only a few weeks or less of actual training in dermatology.
Why does it matter? In dermatology, you either know it or you don’t. A dermatologist’s eyes are our diagnostic equipment – trained and experienced specifically in skin. It is precisely that training and experience that allow us to make an accurate diagnosis and provide effective treatment. We see the difference our training makes in quality of care every day in our office. If quality is what you’re after in the care you receive, look for a Medical Doctor (MD) who is “Board Certified in Dermatology“.
The Appearance of Expertise
Looks can be deceiving. It’s not difficult to dress the part of a skin specialist. There are many “providers”, including non-physicians, who wear white coats, have some kind of medical degree, seem intelligent and friendly, and claim to be “specialists”, have a “special interest” or “specialized training” in dermatology. Other “skin specialists” are physicians trained in a specialty other than dermatology, such as family practice or pathology, who may even be “board-certified”, but not in dermatology.
What does all this really mean? A two-week dermatology rotation? A weekend dermatology seminar? An 82-hour home study program? Don’t believe the hype. Listen to what they are not saying – “Board Certified in Dermatology”.
Get the facts. Your health is too important.
So why does it matter? What is the difference between a board certified dermatologist and a “provider” with an interest in dermatology? It is a subject that is little known to most patients, but makes all the difference in the quality of the care you receive. We see the difference in our office every day.
Why Does Dermatology Training Matter?
Dermatology is all about pattern recognition. You either know it or you don’t. Dermatology is like art appreciation. You either look at a work of art and think “that’s a weird painting” or you know “That’s Picasso’s ‘Les Demoiselles d’Avignon’, from 1907, which is important because it is considered to be a major step towards the founding of cubism”.
It is precisely a dermatologist’s specialized training and experience allow us to make a fast, accurate diagnosis and provide effective treatment.
Dermatologic diagnosis does not rely primarily on numbers or reports. A dermatologist’s eyes are our primary diagnostic equipment. Our eyes perform our equivalent of MRI’s, endoscopies, and sonograms. It is precisely a dermatologist’s specialized training and experience that allow those eyes to make a fast, accurate diagnosis, without unnecessary tests, and provide effective treatment based on our success with other patients with problems like yours.
An accurate diagnosis is important even for something as common as acne. There is a significant difference between a teenage boy with hundreds of tiny white pimples on the forehead, and a young woman with deep, painful cysts on the lower face. There is comedonal acne, hormonal acne and nodulocystic acne, to name a few, and each is treated differently. Recognizing the difference and using specific treatment is crucial.
A Dermatologist’s Education and Training
After completing four years of college, four years of medical school, and at least a one-year internship, physicians wishing to become dermatologists must first be selected for a highly competitive dermatology residency.
Dermatologists have three years of full-time training in skin conditions, skin surgery, and laser procedures.
Dermatology residencies consist of three years of full-time study of the skin. Residents are supervised and trained by fully-qualified dermatologists at an academic institution approved by the American Board of Medical Specialties. During this time, dermatology residents study all aspects of skin, hair, and nail disease. Dermatology residency training includes microscopic pathology of the skin, cutaneous surgery and reconstruction, and laser procedures.
Board-Certification and Re-Certification in Dermatology
After completing their residency, dermatologists study extensively for an intensive, two-day examination called the “board examination”, given once a year. Not all dermatologists pass.
The initials “FAAD” (Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology) indicate that a dermatologist has passed the board examination and is a “diplomate”, or “board certified” by the American Board of Dermatology. It is the gold standard of excellence in dermatology.
Once certified, earlier generations of dermatologists were board certified for life. Since the 1990’s, recent generations of doctors in most medical specialties have been required to re-certify periodically to maintain board certification. In dermatology, recertification is required every ten years.
We care deeply about the quality of your medical care. At Rustad Dermatology, we are proud of our dedication to true specialization in skin and continuing medical education. See the difference that board-certification in dermatology makes to you. To schedule a consultation with our board-certified dermatologist, call us at 402.484.6222.