YANMDermatologist, but...
June 8, 2014 7:10 PM   Subscribe

I had a mole removed and biopsied last week. It came back negative but the dermatologist recommended a surgical excision to remove "the rest of it." I am leaving the U.S. indefinitely... tomorrow. What are my options? Could I reasonably expect to be able to have this procedure done overseas?

I have two options:

1. delay my flight back to work and book a flight back to see this dermatologist, or
2. transfer my medical records internationally (to the Netherlands) and have the excision done there.

I would much much prefer the latter, but if it's not possible, it will be even more hassle and cost (and delay) to fly back to the States and get it done later.

I got the call Friday evening, so haven't been able to ask my doctor. The nurse did say no trouble to transfer the biopsy results, but could there be any issues internationally? assume the insurance part is covered.
posted by ista to Health & Fitness (7 answers total)
My guess is that there wouldn't be any problem at all, if you have insurance set up there. I'm also American and had a mole removed when I was living in Europe, not a big deal.
posted by three_red_balloons at 7:47 PM on June 8, 2014

I just had two moles removed and biopsied, both came back negative. My dermatologist explained to me that the science is still not settled, that they're not sure that the excisions are strictly necessary, and that they were only going to do it "out of an abundance of caution." I elected to have the excisions done, but I would be equally comfortable not having them done, actually, in retrospect, the risk of infection and complications would lead me to decline in the future. I'm not a doctor, I'm just a random guy on the internet.
posted by Floydd at 7:56 PM on June 8, 2014 [2 favorites]

A dermatologist in the Netherlands will be able to do this for you without any medical issues, if that's what you're asking about.
posted by DarlingBri at 7:59 PM on June 8, 2014 [3 favorites]

Even smaller cities in the Netherlands have a standard of care outstripping some US states. You'll be better than fine. If you need some more specific info, look here.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 8:58 PM on June 8, 2014 [3 favorites]

I wouldn't say I have enough knowledge to answer this, but the only issue I potentially see is that knowing the American medical environment (i.e. doing things out of 'an abundance of caution', a.k.a. a litigious society) you might find that a dermatologist in the Netherlands would not want to perform the procedure because they don't think it needs to be done. Not sure whether you would see that as a "problem" or not. Some quick research on the subject suggests that I might be wrong about this, and it is a minor procedure, so it probably won't be a big deal to them regardless of their opinion on its necessity.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 12:14 AM on June 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

I am an American living in the Netherlands, and I have seen dermatologists in both countries. I can confirm that Dutch doctors are less eager to perform procedures that might be unnecessary. They are more conservative, but the standard of care is high. Schedule an appointment and see what they think, and if you still think you want it done, you can ask them to do it.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 12:48 AM on June 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

IMO, I would not surgically excise a negative mole (I grew a keloid from excising my atypical mole). The keloid is really annoying (itches, catches on things) and much worse than a negative mole.

Since it's negative, you could always just wait to see if it grows back (shaved moles sometimes grow back) and then at that time get it excised, if you really want to.
posted by puertosurf at 2:01 PM on June 9, 2014

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