When should I use a dermatopathologist?

Dr. Beth Goldstein
2 minute read

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Often, when taking a biopsy or excision, you may send the tissue to a surgical pathologist. While this may be a convenient option, as a board-certified dermatologist, I always recommend consulting a dermatopathologist.

When diagnosing certain skin conditions, such as pigmented lesions or inflammatory dermatoses, recruiting the expertise of a dermatopathologist can aid in effective and accurate diagnosis.

A dermatopathologist is trained in the study of skin pathology, with a special expertise in calling complicated malignancies, especially melanocytic lesions with increased accuracy. In addition, a dermatopathologist’s expertise in inflammatory diagnoses can be particularly useful when providing a clinically meaningful differential. To achieve the most meaningful pathology report from your dermatopathologist you should include a robust clinical patient history to help inform the pathologist of your concern/useful information regarding potential diagnoses.


Inflammatory dermatoses are consistently challenging for diagnosis due to the wide, complex variety of conditions. Pigmented lesions, such as melanomas, can mimic benign lesions or malignant variants of non-melanocytic lesions. This may result in an under-call that delays diagnosis and treatment, or an over-call resulting in unnecessary procedures. In addition to tele-dermoscopy with Modern Ritual, or a punch/shave biopsy or excision, DermTech melanoma tests are also an option for diagnosing melanomas through a minimally invasive sticker, especially with facial lesions.

DermTech is 99% accurate in ruling out melanoma, compared to 83% biopsy method. When making diagnoses regarding pigmented lesions or inflammatory dermatosis, using a dermatopathologist for a first or second opinion can affirm the decision-making process and reinforce correct treatment plans.

If you need help connecting with a dermatopathologist, reach out to us at Modern Ritual Health: hello@getmr.com




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