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Star Tribune: Many dermatologists prefer lucrative cosmetic work to treating cancers

Interesting story in the Star Tribune, onDermatology’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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Comments (2)

Please note, comments are no longer published through this website. All previously made comments are still archived and available for viewing through select posts.

Brad F

February 23, 2014 at 5:55 pm

I am grateful for the generosity of Dr. Crutchfield, such is he, for without the duty owed on lucrative procedures, folks cant generate the same tax income on other goods. Of course creating non-HC jobs in the process. Just sayin:

“Some have described cosmetic dermatology as entrepreneurial medicine, a label that Crutchfield likes. His office employs 40 people, which he describes as contributing to the health and welfare of the state by paying corporate and other taxes.”