Interesting story in the Star Tribune, on “Dermatology’s Tug of War.”
Its primary theme – claims about a shortage of dermatologists – has been making headlines for a long time. Some doubt whether there’s a real shortage. (See dermatologist Orin Goldblum’s comments in this story, for example.)
But the secondary theme is what intrigues me: of the dermatologists in practice, “Many devote a considerable part of their practice to cosmetic procedures, which tend to pay much better than treating malignant moles or other medical conditions,” according to the story. Further excerpts:
“Cosmetic dermatology takes time away from more important medical issues,” said Dr. Spencer Holmes, a dermatologist at Park Nicollet and adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School. “It is ethically wrong, in my opinion.”
The cosmetic work has contributed to a noticeable increase in dermatologists’ incomes. From 1995 to 2012, incomes for dermatologists rose nearly 50 percent, while primary care physicians’ income rose about 10 percent. Dermatologists now earn about $471,555 on average, the fourth-highest earners in American medicine, according to the Medical Group Management Association in Colorado.
But some wonder whether skin cancer and malignant moles are taking a back seat to a youth and beauty-obsessed culture wanting Botox, chemical peels and lip augmentation. Cosmetic dermatology now fills 20 to 40 percent of some doctors’ schedules in the Twin Cities.”
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