Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Dermatologist?
Dermatologists are Doctors who specialise in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of skin disease and skin cancers.
Dermatologists are initially trained as Doctors, undertaking six or more years of university study to gain their medical degree. This is followed by a minimum of 2 years of full-time practice and training in a teaching hospital as a junior hospital Doctor. Application can then be made to enter a five-year training program in Dermatology. Some trainees undertake further research and study, obtaining Master of Medicine or PhD degrees.
Once accepted into the program, the advanced training in dermatology involves at least a further four years of intensive study, research and practice in approved training centres in Australia and overseas. Early in the training program, trainees are required to successfully complete the Clinical Sciences examination. Near the end of the training program, trainees undertake both written and clinical components of the Fellowship examination. After passing the Fellowship examination and having completed the training program satisfactorily, a trainee is recommended for Fellowship of the Australasian College of Dermatologists (FACD). In total, it usually takes a minimum of 11 years of medical training to become a Dermatologist.
Dermatologists maintain their professional standards and develop new skills through participation in continuing professional development program monitored by the Australasian College of Dermatologists.
When should I see a Dermatologist?
Your General Practitioner (or sometimes another specialist) may refer you to see a Dermatologist if they would like assistance with the diagnosis of an uncertain skin condition bothering you, or if assistance with the treatment of your skin condition is required.
If I have a skin problem what should I do first?
It is suggested that you first see your General Practitioner or usual Doctor for assessment. If it is a minor problem, your Doctor usually can provide you with a suitable treatment to resolve your problem. However, if it is a more complex problem which requires review by a specialist or if you would like a second opinion then simply obtain a referral to a Dermatologist addressed to Pymble Dermatology.
We recommend obtaining a referral from your GP/Doctor prior to booking an appointment because this allows the Dermatologist to first review your referral and arrange for an urgent appointment if necessary. If you have a valid referral on the day of your appointment you will also be eligible for the Medicare rebate.
Should I have my skin checked for melanoma and other skin cancers even if I don’t have anything thatis worrying me?
The purpose of a skin check is to detect any skin cancers or potential skin cancers early, before it has a potential to spread or evolve to something more sinister. It is important to have regular skin checks because early detection can minimise the risks and treatment process required to remove the cancer. Careful examination with modern diagnostic aids and appropriate use of biopsy allows our experienced Dermatologists to detect melanomas and other cancers sooner.
Australia has one of the highest rates of melanoma, basal and squamous cell carcinoma in the world, however these are all curable if found early. There are many risk factors and depend on personal and family history of skin cancer, skin type, propensity to and frequency of sunburns, number of moles, increasing age and other factors. Unfortunately, we still see skin cancer in people with few if any major risk factors.
My rash comes and goes, what can I do to ensure appropriate treatment at the time of my consultation?
- Please keep your consultation booked, our Dermatologists at Pymble Dermatology may be able to make a provisional diagnosis based on history, or may be able to suggest appropriate investigations and management to help diagnose and treat your condition. If our Dermatologists feel it necessary to see you with the rash present, after your initial consultation, our Dermatologists can arrange to fit you in on the day your condition flares.
- Photographs of your condition can be very useful. Ensure that you have good light (outdoor light is usually best). Please also take close-up photographs to show detail, if you know how to use the macro function (usually designated with a flower symbol) please take the photographs using this function. Showing the evolution of your rash over hours or days can be very useful.
Keep a diary of your condition, in particular, whether you notice anything which might trigger and also improve it. For example, food, soap, cream, suncream, heat or cold conditions, clothes, etc.
How often should I have my skin checked by a Dermatologist?
Your specialist Dermatologists will carefully generate a care plan tailored to your specific skin type, risk factors and past skin history.
In general, for routine surveillance of low risk individuals, a 12-18 monthly full body skin check with your Specialist Dermatologist, GP or Skin Cancer Clinic GP will suffice.
For higher risk individuals and those with a past history of skin cancer, a 6-12 monthly skin check with a Specialist Dermatologist is recommended.
If you notice a changing or symptomatic lesion, you should contact your doctor to arrange an urgent review.
How do I protect myself from sun damage?
Pymble Dermatology recommends using a high-quality sunscreen (SPF-50+, broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection) and making sure you apply sunscreen to all exposed skin, including the lips, whenever possible. Its important to wear sunscreen or sunblock even when you are spending the entire day indoors. Keep in mind that the strongest sun rays are between 10am to 4pm, so you should seek shade during these times, when you are outdoors. Protect your eyes from sun damage by wearing UV protected sunglasses, and wear protective clothing with long sleeves when possible. Avoid tanning beds/booths/saloons or spending a lot of time in the sun just to achieve that bronzed look. Use sunless tanners to reduce the risk of sun damage and skin cancer.
Does my private health insurance cover the cost of a Dematology consultation?
Australian private medical insurance is intended to cover inpatient (i.e. admitted to hospital) costs and does not cover outpatient medical appointments. Depending on your cover, your insurance may help subsidise certain non-PBS medications.
Does Pymble Dermatology claim through Medicare for me?
At this stage, direct receipt of the Medicare rebate is not available. All patients pay for their consultation on the day of the appointment and then claim the allocated rebate from Medicare.
What should I bring to my appointment?
- Your referral.
- Your Medicare card.
- Your completed new patient registration form.
- Any biopsy tests, blood tests, other test results, past documentation, X-rays, or any other information that might relate to your consultation.
Any photographs of your condition, especially if it comes and goes.
How long will my appointment take?
Generally, an initial consultation, including a detailed discussion with the Dermatologist and examination of your skin, will take approximately 15-20 minutes.
Follow-up or review appointments generally take approximately 10 minutes.
On some occasions, small procedures such as skin biopsies, excision and minor skin operations may be performed at the time of the consultation. This will take longer than the above-mentioned appointments.
What should I expect at my appointment?
The Dermatologist will have a discussion with you to try to understand your concerns. A skin/condition history will be taken and, in most cases, an examination of the skin will be performed. In certain circumstances it may be necessary to take samples of your hair, skin or nails to assist in managing your problem. Your Dermatologist will discuss this at the time of your appointment.
For a full skin check, you will generally be asked to undress to your underwear. It is not standard practice to examine under the undergarments. However, if you have any concerns regarding the skin in these areas, your Dermatologist will examine them at your request. It is recommended that no make-up be worn to your appointment if you are having a skin check.
Photographs may be taken of your skin during the consultation. This is important in identifying the location of spots and skin cancers for future treatment, and is also valuable in monitoring the progress of your condition over time.
Your referring Doctor will be provided with a summary of the consultation and any investigation results will also be provided to the referring Doctor for his/her records.
Can I get an urgent appointment?
Pymble Dermatology will try their best to take urgent referrals at the earliest possible time. It does depend on last minute cancellations, the availability of appointments for that day or week and in extreme cases the Dermatologist may consider providinga consultation out of the business hours. Please note that this is only for extreme cases.
Will I have to pay more for an urgent appointment?
What are the disabled and parking facilities at Pymble Dermatology like?
Pymble Dermatology is all on one level with easy wheel chair access, including a disabled toilet. There are four parking spaces available at the rear of the property with another 14 council parking spaces below Bayer Australia Limited, which is approximately 50 meters from Pymble Dermatology. Click here to see location and parking
How do I get to Pymble Dermatology?
The Pymble Dermatology practice is located along the Pacific Highway at Pymble. It is easily accessible to public transport; approximately 5minutes walk from Pymble train station and a public bus stop is situated right in front of the premises (Bus number 560/575).
For driving and parking information please click here to see location and parking.
What if I have a question?
Should you have a questions regarding appointments, billing, medical issues, test results or any other matters there will always be someone available to provide assistance. Please call our rooms directly and speak to our reception or nursing staff. Our contact details can be found in the footer below or visit the Contact Us page.