Dermatologic surgery refers to that subspecialty of dermatology that manages skin conditions through surgical procedures. These procedures may involve the superficial layers of the skin or extend through to the underlying layers of muscle or fat below depending on the condition being treated. All of our physicians routinely perform dermatologic surgery. Several of our physicians have received advanced training in specific areas of dermatologic surgery such as Mohs surgery, reconstructive and laser surgery.
There are many different forms of dermatologic surgical procedures. For example, for those conditions that are on the surface of the skin, our doctors may choose to remove them by simply shaving or snipping them off with a surgical scalpel or scissor respectively, by destroying them with a cold spray of liquid nitrogen or a special beam of light through our lasers, or electrical destruction with special instruments made for that purpose. Examples of conditions that might be treated would be benign problems such as moles, age spots, skin tags, or cancerous conditions where the cancer is in only the upper layers of the skin.
The surgical excision in which a growth is cut out and then the resulting wound closed with sutures allows for removal of conditions that involve potentially deeper layers of the skin. Examples of benign growths requiring excision are cysts, certain moles, fatty tumors (lipomas), and birthmarks. Excision is also commonly used for skin cancers, especially malignant melanomas.
Mohs surgery is a specialized form of excisional surgery, which is used for skin cancers. Over 3500 skin cancers are removed by this technique each year in our center. Please visit the Mohs section to learn more about that procedure.
Reconstructive plastic surgery is another form of dermatologic surgery. Thousands patients undergo this type of surgery every year in our office following removal of their skin cancers with Mohs surgery. Such surgery is also needed for many melanomas.
The last area of dermatologic surgery is cosmetic and laser surgery. Botox and Cosmetic Fillers have become routine procedures. We use them and multiple other treatment techniques which allow us to treat the effects of aging and sun damage as well as unwanted hair, wrinkles, blood vessels, leg veins, acne scars and others. Please go to our cosmetic services section to learn more about these. While cosmetic surgery is elective, laser surgery may be either elective or needed for medical conditions.
The dermatologic surgical procedures performed in this office are all done under local anesthesia. In times past, many of these procedures were done under heavier levels of sedation or general anesthesia, but advances and use of our local anesthetics have allowed transfer of many these procedures to the far more safe outpatient setting. Performed in this setting, there is not only a quicker return to normal activities, but a far lower rate of infection. In addition, most recoveries have either minimal or moderate discomfort, which is controlled with just Tylenol.