Allergy Patch Testing

Allergy Patch Testing- What to Expect

Allergy Patch Testing can determine if your skin rash is caused by an allergic reaction to contact with a specific substance. In your initial consultation, your dermatologist will carefully examine your skin and discuss your history. Then an assessment will be made of which substances should be patch tested.

How to Prepare for Allergy Patch Testing
  • Stop taking steroid and antihistamine pills and creams, 1 week before the patch tests are scheduled to be placed.
  • Take a shower before you come in for the placement of the tests on your skin.  You CANNOT wash or get your back wet until the second reading three days later (on Friday).

-After the initial consultation, the patch tests will be applied directly to your skin. Test chambers filled with various substances will be taped to your back for 2 days.

How many visits would I need?

In order to get accurate and reliable results from patch testing, you must stick to the following appointment schedule. You need a minimum of 4 visits:

– 1st appointment – Tuesday
-Several pieces of tape will be applied to your back. They will be removed 2 days later, at your Thursday appointment.

-Do not get back wet until after Friday appointment

 

2nd appointment – Thursday
-Remove tape / First reading

 

3rd appointment – Friday
Second reading/ Photos taken

 

4th appointment – Tuesday

3rd reading
-Discuss results

-Provide lists of products to avoid and safe products to use

What is contact dermatitis?

Contact allergy is a reaction caused by direct skin contact with a substance. The allergen that trigger symptoms are often simple chemicals, e.g. nickel metal in belt buckles. Other common causes of allergic contact dermatitis include ingredients in cosmetics, preservatives, fragrances. hair dyes and hygiene products.  For more information on contact dermatitis, visit the American Contact Dermatitis Society.

How long will the patch tests remain on my skin?

The patch tests will be removed on your Thursday appointment, 2 days after application. Do not remove the tests before this visit. If you have extreme itching or discomfort, contact our office.

How should I take care of the patches when they are on my skin?
  • Keep the test area on the back dry and avoid activities that can cause sweating. Sweating may make the patches come off.
  • Do not use steroid creams or antihistamines during the test period.
  • If the patches are getting loose, have someone press them onto the skin. If needed, you can add more tape onto the edges.
  • If the site is itchy, try to not scratch it. Itching is usually a sign of a positive reaction, and scratching can alter the test results.
What if I'm not allergic to any of the tested substances?

Negative results are common. This information is still useful, as you will not have to avoid the tested substances. A negative patch test result could mean that you skin condition is due to an irritant (not allergic) reaction. Your dermatologist will discuss how to better take care of your skin and avoid irritating substances.

Payment / Insurance Coverage

Please contact your insurance company to see what your cost would be. This depends on your specific insurance plan and if you have a high deductible. Your cost can range from $0 to $800.

Below is the information you will need to give to your insurance company before coming for treatment:

Procedure: Allergy Testing
Procedure code (CPT): 95044
Number of units: 80

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