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Primary Care Physicians Performing Biopsy Procedures

Joseph E. Scherger, MD; Kenneth Patric, MD
Arch Intern Med. 1986;146(12):2415-2416. doi:10.1001/archinte.1986.00360240163031.
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To the Editor.  —We read with great interest the editorial in the July issue of the Archives, "Is It Appropriate for Primary Care Physicians to Perform Skin Biopsies?" by Weinstein and coworkers.1 The authors discuss the issues involved with performing procedures commonly utilized by both primary care and subspecialty physicians. Our concern is the bias expressed at the beginning of their editorial, which states that skin biopsy is "traditionally" a "subspecialty procedure." Generalist physicians have been performing skin biopsy procedures for many years and, certainly, prior to the development of subspecialties. The tradition of this procedure clearly lies with generalist physicians. Although much primary care training is relatively new, and there are controversies regarding the extent of training in procedures for new primary care physicians, a procedure such as skin biopsy is fundamental to the generalist physician.Skin biopsy is an essential procedure taught to family practice residents.


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