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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
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Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Wait for Botox shorter than for mole check, study says
Patients seeking an appointment with a dermatologist to ask about a potentially cancerous mole have to wait substantially longer than those seeking Botox for wrinkles, says a study published online today by The Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology and described in today's New York Times.
In Boston, the median Botox wait was 13 days, versus 68 days for a mole examination, the Times story said. In Seattle, the median Botox wait was seven and a half days, compared to 35 days for a changing mole.
Dr. Alexa B. Kimball, an associate professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School, told the Times one reason could be that the demand for medical dermatologists outstrips the supply. She was not involved in the study but her research has shown that dermatologists nationwide spent an average of three to four hours a week on cosmetic treatments.
More people are seeking medical appointments with dermatologists because of increased awareness about such skin diseases as melanoma and psoriasis, Kimball said. Meanwhile, a wider array of doctors, including plastic surgeons and even some internists, offer Botox shots, she said.
"The study shows that the Botox needs of the United States are being met," Dr. Kimball told the Times. "If dermatologists stopped providing cosmetic care, it would not necessarily have an impact on medical dermatology patients."