Comprehending your Dermatology Statement

Comprehending your Dermatology Statement

Comprehending your Dermatology Statement

You may be billed for pathology lab services after having a tissue sample taken at a dermatology visit. People often question what pathology lab services are and why they got billed for them. Questions like this are entirely valid and understandable. Our experts in laboratory design will address some critical questions about dermatology pathology lab service.

What is a pathologist?

To fully comprehend pathology lab services, it is crucial to understand what a pathologist is. A pathologist is a specialized physician qualified in using laboratory tests and microscopic examination of your tissue to diagnose diseases. There are also pathology specialists who specialize only in diagnosing skin diseases and are called dermatopathologists or pathologists of the skin. These specialized pathologists are skilled investigators. They make microscopic observations of samples, compare them with other tests performed, and evaluate your doctor's examination to help form a definitive diagnosis of your skin condition.

I didn't see a pathologist. I saw a dermatologist. What's the difference?

Physicians complete long years of residency training after completion of medical school. In this case, your physician had specialized training in either pathology or dermatology. After a doctor finishes residency training as a dermatologist, they may complete additional education specializing in learning to diagnose skin diseases under a microscope. A dermatologist is a doctor who actually sees the patient in the office and provides treatment options. However, the dermatopathologist receives the specialized training to get biopsy samples from said dermatologist and explore tissue samples under a microscope to help make a diagnosis.

But why was I billed for pathology services?

It is easy to get frustrated seeing a doctor's name on your medical bill that you never consulted with or saw. Though you never met the dermatopathologist mentioned in your medical statement, they have unquestionably met your tissue samples.

Here experts explain the process of performing a biopsy to achieve a definitive diagnosis.

The biopsy

Many people visit a dermatologist for a skin cancer screening or a rash. Unfortunately, a visual diagnosis cannot be achieved when a dermatologist notices something is wrong but cannot precisely determine the problem. This is when a tissue sample is removed for examination under a microscope by a dermatopathologist. The most common tissue samples referred to a dermatopathologist are cases where there is a concern for skin cancer. The best way to tell if a mole or spot on your skin is cancerous is for a dermatopathologist to look at it under a microscope.

The sample is sent.

After removing a tissue sample, your dermatologist packages it safely and sends it to a preferred pathology lab. Your dermatologist works very closely with the dermatopathologist.

Dermatopathologists can review your medical record and provider's notes and any photos the dermatologist may have taken to help make the most reliable diagnosis possible. A dermatology pathology lab service has many highly-trained and certified medical professionals. They use state-of-the-art equipment to turn your tissue sample into a glass slide for a dermatopathologist to investigate. You may see an unrecognizable doctor's name on your dermatology bill. While a dermatopathologist may not have seen you in person, they still consider you their patient and are dedicated to giving you the best care possible.


After prepping, analyzing, and diagnosing your tissue sample, the test results go back to your dermatologist. The results are always sent back directly to your provider. In many cases, your dermatologist and the dermatopathologist further discuss the findings before discussing your diagnosis.

Understanding a pathology lab and your dermatologist bill is very important to us. In addition, your understanding of our role in laboratory design matters, too. Contact us today to learn more about how we can optimize your lab.

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