FAQs

Dermatology

When should I see a dermatology professional?

In general, it’s a good idea to see a dermatology professional for a thorough skin cancer screening once a year (depending on risk factors, some individuals may need to be checked more frequently). You should also see a dermatology professional if you have a skin condition you’ve been self-treating unsuccessfully; you have a scratch or cut that hasn't healed as fast as it should; you have a spot on your skin that looks new or has changed; or you’re just plain worried about something that’s happening with your skin.

What are the most common skin conditions treated in your offices?

The most common skin conditions we see in our offices are acne, eczema (a chronic skin condition especially common in children in which patches of skin become rough, reddened and itchy), and skin cancer.

Will someone call me to tell my biopsy result?

We will only call you if your biopsy result is positive and further treatment is required. If we are unable to reach you by telephone, we will send you a letter with your results.

What is a Board Certified Dermatologist?

A Board Certified Dermatologist has received specialized post graduate training in skin disorders and has further passed examinations to certify their expertise. Dermatologists treat patients of all ages. Dermatologists are trained to practice medical dermatology, surgical procedures on the skin and cosmetic dermatology. A dermatologist's practice typically is in the area of skin cancers (basal cell carcinomas, squamous cell cancers and melanomas) and precancerous lesions, rashes, pigment disorders, acne, eczema, skin infections, psoriasis, hair and nail disorders, surveillance of moles and cosmetic problems of the skin.

What is a Nurse Practitioner?

A Nurse Practitioner (NP) is an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) who has completed graduate-level education (either a Master of nursing or Doctor of Nursing Practice degree). Nurse practitioners treat conditions through comprehensive history taking, physical exams, ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests. NPs can then diagnose diseases and provide appropriate treatment for the patients, including prescribing medications. A NP's practice at DermOne includes diagnosing and treating acute and chronic dermatologic illness and/or conditions from infancy to adulthood, counselling and educating patients, performing biopsies and excisions, interpreting diagnostic and pathology studies, prescribing medications, and performing total body examinations for detection and treatment of cutaneous malignancies and premalignancies. As defined by their licensure, educational preparation, and certification, board certified NP's also perform cosmetic procedures.

What is a Physician Assistant?

A Physician Assistant (PA) is a healthcare professional who is authorized by the state to practice medicine as part of a team with the sponsorship of a physician. They perform total body exams for skin cancer surveillance and perform biopsies on suspicious lesions to check for skin cancer. They also can do many minor surgical procedures to remove skin cancers and non-cancerous growths when necessary. They evaluate, treat and manage all dermatologic conditions including acne, eczema, psoriasis, rashes and warts, just to name a few.

How often should I get a skin cancer screening?

This varies from person to person, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. However, if you've never been screened for skin cancer, it's a good idea to schedule one. Be sure to ask the dermatologist how often you should have a skin cancer screening. Some individuals may need to be screened more frequently than others, due to risk factors.

What are the different types of skin cancer?

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form of skin cancer, affecting nearly 3 million Americans each year. It is seldom fatal, although it can lead to disfigurement if allowed to grow. The second most common type is squamous cell carcinoma, with 700,000 new cases diagnosed each year in the U.S. Like BCC, squamous cell carcinoma can cause disfigurement if left untreated; it results in 2,500 deaths each year. The most deadly skin cancer is melanoma. While melanoma accounts for less than five percent of skin cancer cases, it causes the vast majority of skin cancer deaths. Melanoma is also the only one among the seven most common cancers whose rate is increasing.

What is actinic keratosis?

Actinic keratosis is a skin condition that may develop into skin cancer, so it is often referred to as "precancerous". It appears as a thick, scaly patch of skin, and tends to form on areas of the body exposed to the sun, such as the face, scalp, arms, chest and back of the hands or neck.

How is skin cancer treated?

Treatment depends on the type and stage of cancer. The dermatologist can explain the best options for each individual patient. Most basal and squamous cell carcinomas can be treated with minor surgery or other localized treatments such as cryosurgery (a technique involving liquid nitrogen applied to the tumor to freeze and kill the cells). Mohs micrographic surgery (microscopically controlled surgery) is a specialized technique used to remove skin cancers while preserving surrounding healthy tissue.

What are the risk factors for skin cancer?

A major risk factor is exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. People who spend a lot of time in the sun--the major source of UV rays--or use tanning beds increase their risk of developing skin cancer. Family history plays a role, as does race: Caucasians, especially those with fair skin and light-colored hair, have a melanoma risk 10 times higher that of African Americans, and a higher risk overall for any type of skin cancer. Age and gender are factors: before age 40, women are at higher risk; after age 40, the risk is higher in men. An abundance of moles also increases risk; people who have many moles should have regular, thorough skin exams by a dermatologist, according to the American Cancer Association. Smokers have a higher incidence of developing squamous cell skin cancer, especially on the lips.

Can skin cancer be prevented?

Avoid using tanning beds or sun lamps; use sunscreen and lip balm daily. Be sure to use sunscreen that provides broad-spectrum or UVA/UVB protection, and has an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 30. Sunglasses and protective clothing are also recommended when spending time outdoors.

What are the early signs of skin cancer?

An irregular-shaped mole, a sore that doesn't heal; any new growth, lump or change in an area of the skin may be a sign of skin cancer. Most people have marks, blemishes and moles on their skin; the key is to be watchful for any changes in the skin--and if you do notice something suspicious, have it checked out by a doctor as soon as possible. A rough, thick scaly patch on the skin, or cracking/peeling on the lower lip that does not go away may be a sign of actinic keratosis (see above), a precancerous condition that may or may not develop into skin cancer. It's important to check with your doctor right away if you notice any changes in your skin.

Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery

Is cosmetic treatment covered by insurance?

Cosmetic treatments are not covered by insurance. However, some procedures are determined to be medically necessary, and may fall under the insurance category. This is something that can be discussed at your consultation.

Do I need a referral for the consultation?

Cosmetic consultations are always free and do not require a referral. If you are an insurance patient, you will need to follow the guidelines of your insurance policy.

What does the consultation include?

During your consultation, you will meet with Dr. Blanks and discuss your concerns. Dr. Blanks will review the best options for you and explain what treatments and/or procedures are available. The details about each option will be discussed, as well as realistic expectations for each procedure and how much downtime you will need. Dr. Blanks can also answer any questions you may have. You will then meet with our patient care coordinator who will provide you with a quote for the treatments or procedures discussed. Finally, the coordinator will schedule any additional appointments necessary.

I’ve had fillers and other injectables in the past; can I just come in and get injections by Dr. Blanks?

Dr. Blanks always requires a consultation before injections to ensure that you get the final result that you are looking for. That is why all cosmetic consultations are free.

Am I an appropriate candidate for plastic surgery?

If you are considering plastic surgery, you must be honest with yourself about why you want the surgery and what you expect plastic surgery to do for you. All expectations should be realistic and discussed with Dr. Blanks at your initial consultation. If making a change is something you have thought about for some time and you have realistic expectations for your surgery, you are an ideal candidate.

Is plastic surgery safe?

All surgeries carry some uncertainty and risk. However, plastic surgery procedures are normally safe when they are performed by a qualified, experienced, board-certified physician. It is important for patients to disclose all pertinent medical history so that a true assessment of any surgical risks can be made. Dr. Blanks is a double board-certified facial plastic surgeon and otolaryngologist. Her extensive knowledge about the head, face and neck combined with her artistic talent during surgery help her achieve fantastic results.

What factors impact the success of surgery?

A patient’s age, skin type, general health and genetic background and the nature of his or her condition can all affect the final result. Patients who smoke may not heal as quickly as nonsmoking patients. Patient compliance with any and all of Dr. Blanks instructions is a must for a successful outcome.

Do I have to attend all of my postoperative appointments, even after the stitches come out?

To track your progress and ensure that you are healing properly, Dr. Blanks schedules postoperative appointments. These appointments are very important, so it is imperative that you come to all of your scheduled appointments.

Veins

Are varicose veins painful?

Not always, but they can cause other symptoms, such as stinging, burning or a tired feeling at the end of the day. Most people notice that their veins become bigger and more tender as the day goes on; elevating the legs helps the veins drain, improving the tired feeling. Vein size isn’t an indication of the amount of discomfort. Large veins might not cause any symptoms, whereas a small vein might cause pain, stinging or burning.

Are varicose veins harmless?

Not necessarily. Although some people may have varicose veins for years with no significant symptoms, others may develop swelling, dark pigmentation or thickening of the skin, rash or leg ulcers. Occasionally, a blood clot could develop—a condition that needs immediate medical attention.

Can varicose veins be used for bypass surgery?

No, these are diseased veins and not healthy enough for bypass surgery.

Can varicose veins rupture or bleed?

Yes, veins near the surface of the skin can sometimes burst. They can also be accidentally cut while shaving, causing profuse bleeding.

Is there a cure for varicose veins?

There are many possible treatments for varicose veins, from compression stockings and leg elevation to advanced surgical and nonsurgical procedures.

To remove varicose veins, do you have to have surgery in the hospital with general anesthesia?

Thanks to new, less-invasive procedures, almost all leg veins, no matter the size, can be treated in the office under local anesthesia (numbing medicine) with minimal discomfort.

When can I go back to work after varicose vein surgery?

Patients treated with ablation—a procedure that uses energy to close varicose veins—are encouraged to walk the day of surgery, and can usually return to work in a day if not the same day.

Doesn’t removing varicose veins cause new ones to form?

No. Although an older surgical procedure called vein stripping was associated with new vein formation, this doesn’t seem to be the case with new therapies such as ablation.

Don’t varicose veins just come back after they’re treated?

A 40 percent recurrence rate was common with vein stripping. But with minimally invasive laser ablation, the recurrence rate is about 3 percent. We have seen even less than a 3 percent recurrence rate since 2002, when we started using a laser approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat varcicose veins in our office.

Does varicose vein removal leave large scars?

Although vein stripping left scars up to an inch long, the small pinpoint scars from laser ablation usually disappear without a trace.

Does insurance cover varicose vein treatment?

Many insurance companies cover laser ablation for symptomatic varicose veins and venous insufficiency.

Will my legs look better after varicose vein surgery?

Yes! We have many patients who were ashamed to show their legs in public due to discoloration and varicose veins. After treatment, most people are able to show off their legs with pride. The smaller, cosmetic asymptomatic spider veins however are not covered by insurance companies. The patients are usually responsible financially for these (cosmetic) treatments.

Can all veins be treated?

At DermOne Scarless Vein Care, we have a treatment for every size and type of varicose vein.

Will treating my varicose veins improve skin damage, discoloration and swelling?

Most patients will see significant improvement in swelling, discomfort and the texture of their skin over time, although some of the changes may be permanent.

What are the symptoms of venous disease?

The symptoms can be aching, throbbing, cramping, swelling, rashes, itching, darkening of skin, restless legs, soreness of skin, bleeding, superficial phlebitis (clotting of superficial veins, Lipodermatosclerosis (the skins above the ankle shrinks and the fat under the skin becomes scarred), poor healing after minor injuries to the leg, whitened scar-like patches on the ankle (atrophy blanche) and even more.

The number of people with spider and varicose veins seem to be higher at 50 to 55 years of age for women, 40 to 45 for men. The staggering fact is that one in every two people in the US over 50 is being affected by this.

About 35% of people who form DVT (clots in deep veins) seem to be affected by congenital disease which can be diagnosed with a blood test.

How many people are affected by varicose veins?

It’s estimated that as many as 1 in 2 people in the U.S. over age 50 have some trouble with varicose veins. Women are more likely to develop them after menopause or during pregnancy; men typically notice them starting around age 45. This is based on one reported series.

I have spider veins, not varicose veins. Do they need treatment?

During our free initial screenings, we find that many patients with spider veins also have varicose veins. It is advisable to do an ultrasound to see which should be treated as spider veins and which should be treated as varicose veins. The wrong treatment could potentially lead to clots in the deeper veins. It is important to know what you’re treating!

Will varicose vein treatment increase my risk of blood clots?

Although any treatment has a risk of clots, having varicose veins itself is a risk factor for clots (DVT).

Do insurance companies cover all my treatments?

Each insurance company essentially have their own criteria for treatments. These are usually posted on their website and are available to you upon your request. We strongly suggest for you to obtain and study your coverage personally. We will be glad to help you understand some of these policies.

Where should I be having my treatments?

Of course it is an easy decision if the clinic of your choice is already an accredited vein center by the Intersocietal Accreditation Committee (IAC), since that would imply they have already met the highest standards set forth by the society. We strongly suggest that you visit as many websites as possible to familiarize yourself with the treatment options. This should help you with your expectations.

Do you have Care Credit?

Yes we do. Our insurance clerk will be glad to answer questions regarding your payment plan.