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Botox-Seeking Patients Receive Quick Service

Study suggests that wait times are shorter for cosmetic services than for medical evaluations

FRIDAY, Nov. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Dermatologists may offer shorter wait times to patients seeking cosmetic botulinum toxin injections than to those seeking urgent consultation for a changing mole, researchers report in the December issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Jack S. Resneck, Jr., M.D., of the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine, and colleagues made scripted patient telephone calls to 898 dermatologists in 12 metropolitan areas to request cosmetic botulinum toxin injections. Of these, 455 (50.7) percent offered appointments.

The researchers found that the median wait time for an appointment was eight days. The shortest wait times were observed in Miami, Fla., and Orange County, Calif. Among dermatologists who employed physician extenders, the median wait time offered by extenders was six days. The authors note that previous studies of these metropolitan areas have shown median wait times of 26 days for evaluation of a changing mole.

"We are unable to determine whether changing these practices would have any impact on the substantially longer wait times for patients seeking medical dermatology appointments, but the findings do appear to indicate an access differential," the authors conclude. "Because physicians in many other medical and surgical specialties with physician shortages are also offering non-invasive cosmetic procedures in increasing numbers, future studies across multiple specialties are warranted."

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