Interpretation of Cutaneous Biopsy Specimens: Choice of Pathologist by Primary Care Practitioners

Robert S. Kirsner, Daniel G. Federman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background. Primary care providers (PCPs) have limited training in recognizing common skin disorders, and additional emphasis may be placed on laboratory evaluation, including skin biopsies. Methods. Primary care providers in Miami, Fla, were surveyed regarding skin biopsy and excision practices and histologic interpretation. They then participated in an examination, using 20 high-quality color photographs of common dermatologic disorders. Results. Of the 80 PCPs who participated, 42% currently do skin biopsies and consult general pathologists for interpretation. Another 20% of PCPs intend to do biopsies within the next 5 years. Only 33% prefer to have a dermatopathologist interpret histopathology. We found no correlation between PCPs' scores on diagnostic testing and whether they do skin biopsies. Conclusion. Nearly all PCPs doing skin biopsies in our study sample use general pathologists to interpret histopathology. The limited training in clinical dermatology of both PCPs and general pathologists may result in compromised clinical-pathologic correlation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)461-463
Number of pages3
JournalSouthern medical journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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