Sunday, September 18, 2016

Another doctor has been misrepresented as a Dermatologist, yet again. Be it either in print or on the internet, these actions confuse patients and deceive readers. Was it a case of careless misreporting or deliberate mischief?

For the benefit of my readers, I would like to set the record straight.

1. An Aesthetic Doctor Is NOT A Specialist

The self-titled "aesthetic doctor" is a common sight, on social media and Google search ads. This term has been loosely used to refer to general practitioners (GPs) who provide aesthetic treatments. What you may not know is that, "aesthetic medicine" is NOT a recognised medical specialty. An aesthetic doctor is not a specialist, and would not be listed on the Register of Specialists in Singapore

2. An Aesthetic Doctor Is NOT A Dermatologist

On the other hand, a Dermatologist is a specialist doctor who has undergone formal post-graduate training which spans a period of 6 to 8 years. This is known as the Advanced Residency Programme in Dermatology. Doctors who meet the high standards of the program would become board-certified Dermatologists. Only doctors registered as dermatologists by the Ministry of Health are recognised Dermatologists. 

The study of Dermatology encompasses all aspects of the skin. From the neonatal period and infancy, through adulthood, into old age. From molecular biology to histopathology. From eczema to skin cancers. From procedural dermatology (surgery and lasers) to cosmetic dermatology (botulinum toxin and filler injections; anti-aging and skincare). 

Dermatologists are undoubtedly the doctors with the most thorough understanding of the skin, hair and nails, both in disease and in health. These are honed from years of clinical experience, caring for patients with complex conditions. We are actively involved in research and advancements in the field. This wealth of training would naturally translate into more effective and safe treatments for our patients.

3. A Diploma In Dermatology Is NOT A Dermatologist

A doctor with a "Diploma in Dermatology (Dip Derm)", or the "Graduate Diploma in Family Practice Dermatology (Dip FP Derm)", does not qualify as Dermatologist. This is a certification course for general practitioners to equip them with basic skills in managing patients with skin diseases in the primary care. The course is based on distance-learning modules and a one-week clinical attachment. Patients who require specialized care should still be referred to a Dermatologist.

A doctor with a 'Diploma in Dermatology' is not a Dermatologist. He or she will not be registered on the Singapore Medical Council list of specialists. (Reference: Dermatological Society of Singapore)

Look It Up

Don't be misled again. Check out your doctor's credentials on the Singapore Medical Council Professional Registration System.