On many occasions our patients will be seen by both a dermatologist and rheumatologist at their first appointment (and subsequent appointments if required) to reduce the need for separate appointments.
At your first appointment you will be asked to fill out a new patient questionnaire so that we can understand the impact that your condition/CTD is having in all aspects of life. This enables us to not only treat the medical side of the condition, but the life impact also. Our patients will also have their heart rate, blood pressure and urine tested.
There can often be a lot of new information to absorb, so to help you we have extended appointment times and also provide the opportunity to spend further time with our specialised CTD nurse who can explain things further and answer your questions.
A variety of tests such as blood tests, skin biopsy, thermography and/or capillaroscopy are sometimes required to diagnose and monitor CTDs. We endeavour to coordinate these on the same day as your clinic appointments, all within one location. We are also supported by a pathology service within the Institute, a specialist nurse who can undertake a skin biopsy if required, and a highly specialised microvascular service for thermography and capillaroscopy.
A variety of treatments are available for CTDs and we offer all of them from creams to highly specialised intravenous therapies. Topical treatments (creams) are very often prescribed either alone or to complement other medications. Phototherapy (UV or light treatment) can be very helpful in some CTDs, especially in morphoea. Tablets that modulate inflammation (such as hydroxychloroquine) or dampen the immune system (such as Methotrexate or Mycophenolate Mofetil) are also sometimes needed. We may utilise additional specialised treatments such as intravenous methylprednisolone, immunoglobulin, illoprost or biologics.