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Dermatology Appointment: What Can A Patient Expect At The First Visit? - Dr. Heck

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Dr. Heck describes what a patient can expect when she first visits a dermatologist.

Dr. Heck:
What to expect when visiting a dermatologist is a pleasant experience. You are asked to fill out paperwork asking about medical history questions, and because we are physicians we do care about medicines you are taking, we care about past medical history, about past surgical history.

You should be asked about the problem or reason you are being seen and that usually is done by a nurse and in our office we always recommend full body skin checks with the visits because you could come in for your acne and have a melanoma or a basal cell skin cancer that you don’t know about on your back. So it’s very important to get a full body skin check.

A full body skin check consists of getting into a gown in your dermatologist’s office. You can leave your undergarments on or take them off; the dermatologist will come in and look at all your skin, check your moles, sometimes use special lights or magnifiers to see particular areas of the skin, usually special attention is paid to the face and to the ears and sun exposed areas, but we look everywhere to check for bad moles. If a patient has a mole that’s slightly atypical appearing but not atypical enough to lose the mole for a scar, I recommend pictures.

You take a picture of the mole every month and catalog it. Most people now have a digital camera and you always want to have a measuring instrument in the picture. When the picture is taken the camera should be placed on macro mode, which is the little flower picture that appears in your camera.

About Dr. Shannon Heck, M.D.:
Shannon Heck, M.D., F.A.A.D., is a board certified dermatologist and a partner in a large, thriving dermatologic practice in Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona. She specializes in general and cosmetic dermatology.