Dermatopathology is the practice of pathology limited to skin disease. Dermatopathologists are either specially-trained dermatologists or pathologists. Dermatologists who become dermatopathologists spend a one-year fellowship doing six months of general surgical pathology and six months of dermatopathology.
Dermatopathology is also part of all dermatologists’ training and part of their boards so that in some instances general dermatologists will read biopsies they have taken from their patients.
Dermatopathologists are much more expert in the interpretation of skin disease than any other doctor and most skin biopsies are best interpreted by a dermatopathologist.
Dr. John Geisse is a Board Certified Dermatopathologist who received his fellowship training under the auspices of Dr. Philip LeBoit, a world famous dermatopathologist at The University of California San Francisco (UCSF). He completed his fellowship training in 1991 and thus has 20 years of experience interpreting patient’s biopsies. Dr. Geisse is Clinical Professor of Dermatology and Pathology at UCSF, which is one of the greatest dermatopathology programs in the world. Dermatopathology is particularly important to obtain accurate diagnoses to best guide the dermatologist or the dermatologic physician assistant to select the most specific treatment options for a particular patient.
This is particularly true for skin cancers such as melanoma and basal cell carcinoma, where their specific characteristics are critical to guiding the clinician to the best therapy. Interpretation of melanoma and pigmented skin lesions is a special art and surprisingly subjective so that patients can unfortunately be misdiagnosed by the inexperienced pathologist. As a general rule, suspicious pigmented lesions are over-interpreted by general pathologists as malignant because not surprisingly missing a melanoma resulting in delay or inappropriate treatment is more dangerous than over-interpretation of a funny-looking nevus or mole as melanoma, which simply results in a larger surgical scar. The proper diagnosis of these lesions is critical to provide patients with optimal care and a dermatopathologist is the best person to make the correct diagnosis of skin lesion biopsies.
Dermatopathology is critical to the practice of dermatology. Dermatologist-trained dermatopathologists offer special insights into the proper diagnosis and management of patients. All of our patients seen in any of our five offices receive this expert care.
Solano Dermatology Associates (SDA) owns and operates its own laboratory under the guidance of Dr. John Geisse, a Dermatologist trained board certified Dermatopathologist. This allows our patients to obtain their results as fast as possible, often in just a few days; relieving the stress of waiting for sometimes weeks to hear about an important biopsy result in other offices. Dr. Geisse is available to discuss dermatopathology results and treatment options with your provider at SDA immediately thus offering you the most timely and most accurate diagnosis and treatment.