MetALLS Patch Skin Testing
Your doctor has suggested you have this test as part of the evaluation at National Jewish Health. Patch skin testing is a method of placing small amounts of different substances on the skin for 2 days, and examining the skin for a reaction for several days after. A positive reaction is red, raised, and often itchy. This method helps to diagnose a metal or cement allergy, and will help your doctor identify the best treatment for you.
Preparing for the Test
Please follow these directions when getting ready for this test.
- Your skin should be clear for 2 weeks before the test if possible.
- Avoid exposing your back to the sun for 1 week before the testing.
- Stop applying topical steroids to your back or arms for one month before your appointment.
- If your doctor agrees, stop taking oral steroids for one week before the test.
- Do not apply any ointments, creams or lotions to your back or arms for 24 hours before the appointment.
- Shower before your first visit, as you won’t be able to take one for the next 2 days while the patches are on your back.
- Continue to take all your other medicine as you usually do.
During the Test
On your first visit, we will place several panels of patch tests on your skin, often the back. These are four rectangular panels with small amounts of pre-applied allergens. Acrylic adhesive around the patches will adhere the panels to the skin. Sometimes individual patch tests may also be applied.
After two days the panels are removed and the skin reactions are measured. You will come back again one or two days after the panels are removed to measure the skin reactions again, as 30% of reactions aren’t visible on the first return visit.
The entire series of tests will take about a week to complete. You will typically have your answer on the last day of testing.
Once the Patch Tests Are in Place
Please follow these directions while the patch tests are in place:
- Keep the panels and the skin around the panels dry during the two days the panels are on your back.
- You can take a shallow bath or sponge bath, but avoid getting your back wet.
- Avoid physical activities that may cause sweating or excessive movement during the two days the patches remain applied.
- If you have too much itching or burning under a particular patch you make cut it out from the rest of the panel and call to let us know.
Length of the Test
You will visit us three to four times during the patch testing. Each visit will take about 30 to 40 minutes.
Getting to the Test
On the day of your scheduled test, report to the Check-In Desk in the Adult Clinic.
If you have any questions, please call our program representative at 303.398.1982.
This information has been approved by Lisa Barker, MD (September 2012).