Dermatology Treatments in Devon | Mount Stuart Hospital

Dermatology Treatments

Mole screening clinic

Mole screening and skin cancer checks are available at Mount Stuart Hospital. Melanoma and other skin cancers found and removed early are almost always curable. If you're concerned about sun-damage to your skin or you’ve a mole that’s causing you some concern, then you could put your mind at rest by having a mole check at our mole screening clinic.

Our consultant dermatologists offer a full visual check of all skin lesions, expert advice on skin care and sun awareness and, dermoscopic imaging of lesions that require further assessment.

Cryotherapy

Cryotherapy is a method of freeze treating skin lesions to remove them. At Mount Stuart Hospital we use liquid nitrogen, the most common type of cryotherapy.

Our dermatologists use cryotherapy to remove actinic keratosis (an area of sun-damaged skin), seborrhoeic keratosis (non-cancerous, often pigmented, skin growth), viral warts, Bowen’s disease and other lesions both benign and malignant.

It’s carried out on an outpatient basis. Liquid nitrogen is put on to your skin for a few seconds using a cryoprobe, cotton-tipped applicator or cryospray. Some lesions, such as viral warts, may need more than one treatment.

Excision of skin lesions (punch biopsy and curettage)

The excision of a skin lesion is minor surgery to remove a skin lesion if it’s causing problems, if it may be cancerous or for aesthetic reasons. The NHS does not perform an excision of skin lesions for aesthetic reasons but we do at Mount Stuart Hospital.

The method of skin lesion removal will depend on the type of skin lesion you have and where it is on your body. We frequently perform a punch biopsy and curettage of skin lesions.

  • Punch biopsy

A punch biopsy uses a special circular blade to “punch” a small hole in your skin and remove a cylindrical part of the skin lesion. It’s performed under local anaesthetic. The sample is sent to the laboratory for further testing.

  • Curettage of a skin lesion

A curette scoops away the lesion, often on surface skin lesions. Cautery (heat treatment) or cryotherapy (freezing) can be used with the curettage procedure.

Steroid cream (topical corticosteroids)

Topical corticosteroids are regularly used to treat many dermatological conditions including: psoriasis, eczema and dermatitis. The corticosteroid hormones reduce inflammation and irritation of skin conditions.  

They come in many different forms from creams, gels, lotions, mousses to ointments and they vary in formulation and strength.

Your dermatologist will give you advice on their usage. Normally you’ll use them once or twice each day for a few days or weeks at a time.

Acne treatment with Isotretinoin (Roaccutane)

Severe acne is a serious skin condition that can have a huge impact on a person’s wellbeing and self-esteem as well as being painful. Here at Mount Stuart Hospital we use Isotretinoin, a strong, very effective drug that attacks all causes of acne including: excess oil production, clogged pores, inflammation and surplus P. acnes bacteria.

It’s a prescription only medicine and is dispensed in pill form. You’ll be advised to take one or two pills a day for the course of the treatment lasting around four to five months.

Mycology – fungal toes/hands

Mycology is the study of fungi and fungus diseases. In order to prescribe the correct antifungal treatment your dermatologist needs to determine the type of fungi affecting your toes and hands. They will take tissue samples from the skin, nail or hair. They can be taken by scraping the skin near a rash or under the nail, stripping the skin using tape, taking hair samples or a biopsy. The sample is sent to the laboratory for microscopic examination and culture which can take several weeks.

Common fungal toe and hand conditions include athlete’s foot and toe and finger nail infections, called onychomycosis.

Athletes foot often appears in the gaps between your toes. It can cause red, itchy, flaky and cracking skin. Anti-fungal cream often treats athletes foot effectively.

Nail infections often affect toenails more than fingernails. They normally start at the end of your nail and gradually move down to the base of your nail. They can cause your nail to discolour, become thick and crumbly. Wearing shoes may be painful. Nail infections can be caused by athlete’s foot spreading to your nails or by a weak or injured nail. Antifungal tablets, nail paints or nail softening paste will treat most nail infections.

Your dermatologist will also offer preventative advice to reduce your risk of getting a fungal toe or hand condition in the future.

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