At the Belfast Skin Clinic, we see patients of all ages. Our dermatologists are experienced in diagnosing and treating common and rare skin conditions in children and adults including acne, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, leg ulcers, skin cancer, skin lumps (warts, moles and skin tags) as well as hair, nail and genital conditions.
When required, additional investigations may be necessary to assist with making a diagnosis. These include:
If you are worried about any moles, lumps or bumps, or sun damage, we have clinicians who are experts in diagnosing and treating all forms of skin cancer. We offer a skin cancer screening service and have installed the first whole body mole scanner in Northern Ireland.
We are all increasingly aware of the risks posed by sun damage to the skin and the need to protect our skin in day to day life. However, statistically, skin cancers are on the rise, with Cancer Research recently highlighting a tripling in the incidence of malignant melanomas amongst 18-34 year olds. Experts recommend that we should all have regular mole checks to identify and if necessary remove any suspicious moles.
Dermoscopy is a technique for detailed examination of the skin to help diagnose skin problems. It consists of using a handheld device which combines strong magnification with good lighting and a polarising filter to enable your dermatologist to get the best view possible of your skin problem. Although dermoscopy can be helpful in all forms of skin diagnosis, it is most helpful for the diagnosis of skin cancer, particularly melanoma.
Mole scanning is a technique whereby a person’s moles are catalogued or mapped. The images created can be used as part of a person’s skin cancer surveillance programme. The mole scanner is able to look at deeper structures in the skin to detect early skin cancers before they become visible with the naked eye. At the Belfast Skin Clinic we have Northern Ireland’s only private full body mole scanner.
Mole removal can be required for a variety of practical, aesthetic and medical reasons. Our team of expert dermatologists and plastic surgeons are able to remove troublesome moles quickly, effectively and with minimal scarring. We advise seeking an urgent appointment if you have a new or changing mole.
Before any procedure, we encourage our prospective patients to come in for an initial consultation and meet with one of our experts. Patients will undergo a thorough evaluation of their case for a proper diagnosis, and a treatment plan will be suggested that best suits their needs. In addition, you will have the opportunity to ask questions and raise any concerns. The professional feedback you get will help you make an informed decision so you can progress with any procedure with confidence.
Cryotherapy is treatment using low temperature. Cryotherapy treatment refers to the removal of skin lesions by freezing them, with the most commonly used agent being liquid nitrogen. Liquid nitrogen can be used to treat a wide variety of superficial benign lesions.
The freezing procedure is best suited for removing viral warts, Actinic Keratosis (an area of sun-damaged skin found predominantly on sun-exposed parts of the body), Seborrhoeic Keratoses and other benign lesions.
Botulinum toxin acts as an inhibitor of overactive sweat glands. This is injected into the affected area, thus reducing the volume of sweat produced from the sweat glands and can be used for excess sweating in the axilla (underarm) or palms of hands
Phototherapy is the use of light to treat medical conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. Natural sunlight has been known to be beneficial in certain skin disorders for thousands of years, and it is the ultraviolet part of the radiation produced by the sun that is used in phototherapy, in particular the ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) wavelengths. Ultraviolet light reduces inflammation of the skin and can help in various inflammatory skin disorders.
Laser treatment with IPL laser is available to treat acne, scars, pigmentation, rosacea and thread veins.
Skin biopsy involves removal of a skin sample for examination under a microscope. The procedure is done under local anaesthetic. Three main types of skin biopsies are:
A doctor uses a tool similar to a razor to remove a small section of the top layers of skin (epidermis and a portion of the dermis).
A doctor uses a circular tool to remove a small section of skin including deeper layers (epidermis, dermis and superficial fat).
A doctor uses a small knife (scalpel) to remove an entire lump or an area of abnormal skin, including a portion of normal skin down to or through the fatty layer of skin.
Mohs micrographic surgery is a specialised surgical method for removing certain types of skin cancer.
Traditionally, operations for treating skin cancer surgically have involved removal of the area affected by the skin cancer together with an area of healthy unaffected skin around and below the skin cancer in order to ensure that the entire cancer has been completely removed with suitable margins of excision. Once removed, the skin is sent to the laboratory for examination by a pathologist to confirm whether the operation has been successful or not. It usually takes about 2 weeks for pathology report to become available. If the report shows that the skin cancer has not been fully removed, a further procedure may be necessary.
During the procedure of Mohs micrographic surgery, the skin cancer is removed a thin layer at a time with a small margin of healthy skin surrounding it. Each layer is immediately checked under the microscope by either the surgeon or a pathologist. The layer of skin is examined in horizontal sections. A further layer is taken from any areas in which the tumour remains until all of the skin cancer has been fully removed. The advantage of removing the skin layer by layer in this way is that as little healthy skin around the skin cancer is removed, which keeps the wound as small as possible. Secondly, your dermatological surgeon can be almost certain that the skin cancer is fully removed on the day of the procedure.