Dermatologists Identify Five Skin Health Treatments and Procedures That Consumers May Not Need

American Academy of Dermatology Participates in Choosing Wisely® and Encourages Patients to Start a Conversation with Their Dermatologist about Treatment Options

Article ID: 609523

Released: 28-Oct-2013 12:00 PM EDT

Source Newsroom: American Academy of Dermatology

Newswise — SCHAUMBURG, Ill. (Oct. 29, 2013) – The American Academy of Dermatology (Academy) today released its list of specific treatments and procedures related to skin health and care that are not always necessary. The Academy developed its list as part of Choosing Wisely®, an initiative of the ABIM Foundation to help patients talk with their doctors about medical tests and treatments that may be unnecessary to effectively care for their condition.

“The American Academy of Dermatology is strongly committed to dermatologists serving as effective stewards of limited health care resources by assisting patients in making informed health care decisions,” said dermatologist Brett M. Coldiron, MD, FAAD, incoming president of the Academy. “It is important for patients with skin, hair or nails concerns to talk with and ask questions of their dermatologist about medical care they may not need. This Choosing Wisely® list can help patients save time and money by avoiding medical treatments and tests their condition may not require.”

Dermatologists made the following recommendations:

1. Don’t prescribe oral antifungal therapy for suspected nail fungus without confirmation of a fungal infection. Approximately half of all patients with suspected nail fungus do not have a fungal infection.

2. Don’t perform sentinel lymph node biopsy or other diagnostic tests for the evaluation of early, thin melanoma because they do not improve survival. The five-year survival rate for patients with these types of melanoma is 97 percent and there is a low risk of the cancer spreading to other parts of the body.

3. Don’t treat uncomplicated, non-melanoma skin cancer less than one centimeter in size on the trunk and extremities with Mohs micrographic surgery. In patients with skin cancer on certain parts of the body, the risks of this specialized surgical procedure outweigh the benefits.

4. Don’t use oral antibiotics for treatment of atopic dermatitis unless there is clinical evidence of infection. Antibiotic therapy has not been shown to reduce the signs, symptoms or severity of atopic dermatitis that is not infected. 5. Don’t routinely use topical antibiotics on a surgical wound. The use of topical antibiotics on a clean surgical wound has not been shown to reduce the rate of infection compared to the use of non-antibiotic ointment or no ointment. This recommendation does not apply to wounds received outside a surgical office, for example, scraped knees or household accidents resulting in a cut or abrasion.

The items on the Choosing Wisely® list were selected by an Academy workgroup comprised of board-certified dermatologists who identified areas with the greatest potential for overuse/misuse, a need for quality improvement and the availability of strong evidence-based research to support the recommendation. The final list was reviewed and approved by the Academy’s Council on Science and Research and the Academy’s Board of Directors.

To date, more than 80 national and state medical specialty societies, regional health collaborative and consumer partners have joined the conversations about appropriate care. With the release of these new lists, the campaign will have covered more than 250 tests and procedures that the specialty society partners say are overused and inappropriate and that physicians and patients should discuss. For more information on Choosing Wisely visit

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About the American Academy of DermatologyCelebrating 75 years of promoting skin, hair and nail healthHeadquartered in Schaumburg, Ill., the American Academy of Dermatology (Academy), founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential, and most representative of all dermatologic associations. With a membership of more than 17,000 physicians worldwide, the Academy is committed to: advancing the diagnosis and medical, surgical and cosmetic treatment of the skin, hair and nails; advocating high standards in clinical practice, education, and research in dermatology; and supporting and enhancing patient care for a lifetime of healthier skin, hair and nails. For more information, contact the Academy at 1-888-462-DERM (3376) or Follow the Academy on Facebook (American Academy of Dermatology) or Twitter (@AADskin).

About the ABIM FoundationThe mission of the ABIM Foundation is to advance medical professionalism to improve the health care system. We achieve this by collaborating with physicians and physician leaders, medical trainees, health care delivery systems, payers, policy makers, consumer organizations and patients to foster a shared understanding of professionalism and how they can adopt the tenets of professionalism in practice. To learn more about the ABIM Foundation, visit, read our blog, connect with us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

About Choosing Wisely®First announced in December 2011, Choosing Wisely® is part of a multi-year effort led by the ABIM Foundation to support and engage physicians in being better stewards of finite health care resources. Participating specialty societies are working with the ABIM Foundation and Consumer Reports to share the lists widely with their members and convene discussions about the physician’s role in helping patients make wise choices. Learn more at


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