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Frequently asked questions

What is Dermoscopy?

A dermatoscope uses a high-quality lens for 10 to 14-times magnification and a lighting system which enables visualisation of the skins subsurface structures and patterns. Dermoscopic images help our Skin Doctors and Nurses to distinguish benign from malignant (cancerous) lesions, especially in the diagnosis of malignant melanoma - the most serious form of skin cancer.

Our Doctors and Dermoscopists are trained in pattern recognition which helps them to differentiate between benign (harmless) from dysplastic (abnormal) moles and melanoma (skin cancer). This allows early removal of dangerous moles and prevents unnecessary removal of benign moles.

What is the difference between a mole map and a full skin check?

A skin check is with one of our Doctors who will use a dermatoscope (a handheld microscope) to look at your mole(s) present on that day to identify any cause for concern. They will examine your mole or other skin conditions to determine if they are benign or cancerous and discuss the next steps with you. This takes about 20 minutes. Treatment costs are extra.

At a Mole mapping appointment, you will be met by one of our highly trained Dermoscopists who specialise in assessing moles. They use a high-quality handheld camera to view and photograph your moles, these images will be reviewed by a doctor and securely stored on our database so when you come again, we will compare the images over time, sometimes over many years for any signs of changes or new moles appearing.

Please note: Your scalp, breasts, buttocks, and genital areas will not routinely be examined but please let us know if you are concerned about any lesions or if you want any additional skin areas examined.

If you only have a small number of moles on your body, we recommend you book in for a check with one of our medical team who can help.

What happens during a skin examination?

At Skin Clinic Taranaki we are committed to providing a safe and comfortable environment for our patients at all times.

Skin Clinic Taranaki has both male and female doctors available to carry out Full Body Skin Checks, please ask on booking if you have a preference.

It is not routine for the Skin Clinic Taranaki doctors to examine your breasts or genitals; however, skin cancers sometimes do occur in these areas. We encourage you to check your genitals prior to your full body skin check, and the Doctor will check any skin spots that you have noticed.

If you would like a chaperone present during your consultation or procedure, then we can arrange this for you. Please let one of the team know ahead of your appointment. We welcome support persons.

How often do I need to come?

We usually recommend an annual or two-yearly review of your moles to identify any skin changes which may have occurred since your last appointment. Your Doctor or Dermoscopist will advise you.

If you are at risk of skin cancer you might need to be seen more frequently than this. We will send you a text reminder to book your annual check.

It is always possible that you have a skin cancer that is undetectable at the time of your skin check. Although most skin cancers can take many years to develop, some more aggressive types can develop in several months. It is always important that you, your partner / whanau continue to keep an eye out for changing lesions in between your skin checks and not to become complacent.

If you notice any changes to your moles between appointments, please contact us to book an appointment.

What is an initial consultation?

Your initial consultation is an important meeting to diagnose your skin condition and work in partnership with you to provide the most appropriate treatment options. Our staff use a Dermoscopy to view the moles or areas of concern you have.

How long will a consultation take?

We understand that your time is valuable and try to ensure that our clinics are running on time. Visit our pricing page to see a full breakdown of our consultation prices and times.

Where will I have surgery if I need it?

We have a fully equipped operating theatre on the premises where your Doctor will perform your procedure, sometimes on the same day as your consultation.

Can I have a mole removed for cosmetic reasons?

Yes, at Skin Clinic Taranaki we take our patients from concerned to confident.

Our highly skilled Doctors and associated specialists perform a variety of skin procedures including the removal of moles, skin tags, lesions, warts, and more. This also includes mole removal on face and neck. If appropriate, we can provide procedures on the same day as the consultation, getting our patients peace of mind faster. Mole removals of a delicate or cosmetic nature may be referred to one of our onsite specialists.

Skin Clinic Taranaki doctors specialise in surgical mole and lesion removal and use the latest medical protocols regarding wound suturing procedures. The mole removal scar depends on the size of the lesion, the type of procedure and the wound care after the surgery.

All excisions are sent for a histopathology analysis.

What is liquid nitrogen used for?

Liquid nitrogen is used to freeze and destroy abnormal skin tissues. This can include warts, moles, skin tags, sun spots and nodules as well as actinic keratoses and other pre-cancerous growths. This method involves spraying the liquid directly onto a skin growth, it instantly freezes anything that it comes in contact with.

What is a biopsy?

A biopsy is a medical procedure that involves taking a small sample of skin tissue so that it can be examined under a microscope. If your doctors asks to take a biopsy they will explain the simple procedure to you.

Have a question? Contact us

Skin cancer is easily treated if caught early.

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