Aesthetic Medicine 101: Introduction to Aesthetic Pathology

This is part of our Aesthetics 101 series.

aesthetic medicine course

Human Pathology for Aesthetics
What does it mean?

Pathology is the study and analysis of 'diseases'. In layman's terms, these are ailments or health problems. Medically, disease refers to the alteration of 'structure' (anatomy) or/and function (physiology) of the human body. Now you understand why you need to understand anatomy and physiology. It is like a combination of changes in the human body caused by specific factors. This could simply mean an abnormal change e.g. growth or an abnormal function e.g. high blood pressure. The correlation of these is considered pathological and pathology is the study of these changes.
There's more to pathology than this. Check out the following!
  • Histo-pathology refers to changes seen under the microscope.
  • Cytology refers to the study of individual cells in order to determine the abnormality.
A disease is not just any disease. Look around you, read the papers. You may observe that there can be so many causes that bring about a certain condition or ailment:
  • Physical Trauma e.g.: motor vehicle accidents, radiation.
  • Chemical agents e.g.: poisons, toxic chemicals.
  • Microbial agents (so tiny you can't see them) eg: pathogenic bacteria, virus and fungus.
  • Nutritional deficiency e.g.: lack of vitamins.
  • Deprivation of oxygen e.g.: arterial obstruction leading to stroke or heart attack.
Abnormal reactions of the body due to unknown or undetected causes:
  • Leading to abnormal inflammation e.g.: eczema, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, SLE etc.
  • Leading to abnormal growth e.g.: cancer.
  • Genetic error: e.g. Down's syndrome.
Too much to swallow? The above are just categories to make you understand the complexity of diseases and how the mind set of the healthcare professionals in making a diagnosis of your problem, if you are sick.
Why is the study of pathology important?
Knowledge of pathology can help doctors to accurately diagnose various problems and determine the best possible solutions for the particular problem. Usually, a pathologist will provide the doctor the most possible or exact cause of a medical condition. For example, a GP may not know whether a mole is cancerous or not. He/She would need to take a sample and sent it the pathologist for further examination.
So what exactly does a pathologist do? A pathologist is a medical specialist that you don't normally meet as they normally work behind the scene.
The pathologist is also the specialist who will decide whether a particular skin lesion or a lump is cancerous or not. The surgeon will take out the lump and send to the pathologist for histo-pathological examination. The pathologist will then prepare a report for the surgeon after inspecting the sample.
A forensic pathologist is a pathologist specializing in medico-legal investigations, conducting various scientific tests on objects or substances left at the scene of the crime. He or she must have a sound knowledge in pathology in order to help the police force to confirm the circumstances surrounding the cases.
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Next ModuleIntroduction to Aesthetic Microbiology


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