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What Are the Different Types of Dermatology Procedures?

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  • Written By: A.E. Freeman
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 14 November 2016
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Some dermatology procedures include biopsies, which are used to remove lesions or growths on the skin and to test those lesions to determine if they are benign or malignant. Other dermatology procedures are performed to improve the appearance of the skin. For example, a person may undergo a chemical peel to lessen the appearance of wrinkles. Additional procedures, like Grenz rays and UVB phototherapy, involve using radiation to clear up rashes on the skin.

A biopsy is a common dermatology procedure. A doctor will use a biopsy to diagnose a condition, such as a skin cancer. There are several different types of biopsies. An excisional biopsy is usually done to take an entire lesion off of the skin. A shave biopsy removes a thin slice of a growth, while a punch biopsy removes a small portion of a lesion using a device that pushes into the skin. Fine needle aspiration is another type of biopsy during which a thin syringe is inserted into a lesion and only a few cells are removed.

Dermatology procedures such as a biopsy are commonly done to diagnose a condition of the skin. After removal, the skin specimens are put onto slides and examined by a medical professional. He or she then produces a report that describes the lesion's appearance both under a microscope and to the naked eye and diagnoses the condition.

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UVB phototherapy uses radiation to treat diseases of the skin. Although UVB rays are the light rays that cause sunburn, in a controlled setting they can treat conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. The rays calm the immune response, causing the condition to clear up. Both doctor and patient need to be careful when using UVB phototherapy as a treatment, as too much exposure to the rays increases a person's risk of skin cancer and ages the skin.

Grenz rays are another form of radiation that can calm skin conditions such as psoriasis and dermatitis. The rays penetrate only the first few millimeters of the skin. This type of treatment is often preferred over using corticosteroids, as it is effective without producing side effects.

Other dermatology procedures involve the use of chemicals and lasers to remove skin imperfections. Chemical peels remove layers of the skin to lessen the appearance of wrinkles, remove redness, and eliminate scars from acne and other problems. Like a chemical peel, a dermabrasion also removes skin. While a chemical peel uses an acid, a dermabrasion relies on a brush that spins at high speed to remove scars or wrinkles.

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