Dermatologic surgery encompasses a vast array of procedures that are used to remove or modify skin tissue for medical or cosmetic reasons. These minimally invasive – only cutting “skin deep” – treatments are to improve the health, function, and appearance of your skin. The most common method of skin surgery is accomplished using a scalpel. Other methods may be cryosurgery (freezing the skin with liquid nitrogen), electrosurgery (highly controlled, small electrical bursts), currettage and electrodesiccation, or Mohs micrographic controlled surgery. Purely cosmetic reasons for skin surgery direct the surgeon to modifying the skin structure, while medically oriented skin surgery may involve purposeful destruction of skin (e.g. removal of a skin cancer). Cosmetic methods are laser surgery, chemical surgery, injection of filler substances, and, of course, plastic surgery.
Over a lifetime, skin can develop brown spots/discolorations, growths and sun damage. In the majority of cases, corrective action to affected skin problems can be performed in our office, either without anesthesia or with local anesthesia to minimize discomfort.
There are multiple medical reasons to perform dermatologic surgery in our office:
- Benign skin growths – Many benign (noncancerous) growths can be removed in the office: precancerous growths (actinic keratoses), seborrheic keratoses (common growths seen in adults), cysts, warts, moles, skin tags, molluscum (usually seen in children), etc. They might be removed simply because they interfere with normal function, or present adverse symptoms such as bleeding, itching, pain, or discomfort.
- Malignant skin growths – The most common type of skin cancer is Basal cell carcinoma, which typically appears as a translucent growth on sun-exposed skin that may bleed, crust, or not heal. The second most common type of skin cancer is Squamous cell carcinoma, which also appears on sun-exposed skin. It may appear as a raised lesion that is scaly, ulcerative, or crusted and not healing. The most serious type of skin cancer is Malignant melanoma which can be an Asymmetrical growth with irregular Borders, varied Colors of blue, brown, black, red or white, and can be any size, but the Diameter is usually larger than a pencil eraser. These growths may change over time or show Evolution. Evolving moles can point to danger since the growth may change in size, shape, color, elevation, or symptoms such as bleeding, itching or crusting. To remember these signs of melanoma, we usually use these ABCDEs.
- Cosmetic dermatological surgery is the removal of skin lesions or other skin enhancement to help someone look and feel better about their skin: the largest organ on the body. Age and Sun Spots may be removed with the use of creams, chemicals, microdermabrasion or laser surgery. Excess hair can be treated with medications and/or a hair removal laser. Eyelashes can be enhanced and lengthened with Latisse®. Broken blood vessels on the face can be removed with a vascular laser. Unwanted leg blood vessels can be treated with sclerotherapy or laser surgery. Wrinkles can be improved with creams, chemical peels, fillers, botulinum toxin, or laser surgery. Scars can be treated with injection methods, topical therapies and laser surgery. All of these methods result in a more youthful appearance to the skin.
Depending on your skin problem, our medical staff can discuss what would be the best method for you. Consultations are usually required before any cosmetic procedure is performed to discuss the best procedure for you, treatment options, possible side effects or complications, postoperative restrictions, and to answer any questions you may have regarding expectations.