Dermatologic surgery deals with the diagnosis and treatment of medically necessary and cosmetic conditions of the skin, hair, nails, veins, mucous membranes and adjacent tissues by various surgical, reconstructive, cosmetic and non-surgical methods. The purpose of dermatologic surgery is to repair and/or improve the function and cosmetic appearance of skin tissue.
the majority of dermatologic surgeries are now minimally invasive and require only local or regional anesthesia. This translates into superior patient safety while reducing the all-important “downtime” and recovery period. In addition, new developments and the latest techniques are constantly enhancing the results of many established skin surgery procedures.
Examples of dermatologic surgery procedures include anti-aging treatments, injectable and implantable soft tissue fillers, botulinum toxin treatments, correction of acne scarring, chemical peeling, tumescent liposuction, vein therapy, hair restoration, laser surgery, skin cancer treatment and reconstructive flaps and grafts.
Dermatologic surgeons specialize in the use of surgical and non-surgical skills and methods for diagnosing and treating various skin, hair, nail and vein conditions, including benign growths, skin cancers, aging skin, unwanted fat, excess hair and varicose veins. As experts on living skin cells, dermatologic surgeons are uniquely qualified to employ a range of corrective and preventive techniques to keep skin healthy, vibrant and youthful-looking. In fact, dermatologic surgeons are responsible for the development and refinement of many of today’s therapeutic and cosmetic surgery procedures.
Great strides in minimally invasive techniques and today’s advanced technologies now enable dermatologic surgeons to achieve medically effective and cosmetically elegant results. Procedures are typically less intense, safe and heal more quickly than ever before. Further, treatment is usually performed in the physician’s office, which translates to added convenience and cost-effectiveness.
Some common treatments used in dermatosurgery:
CHEMICAL PEELS: Chemical peels for acne work by removing the surface layers of the skin in order to expose the fresh and unaffected layers below. Done in a series of four to six sessions, these peels can improve mild to moderately severe cases of acne, and can be given over the face or other body area where acne is a problem. Chemical peels don’t really peel the skin, despite what the name implies. They rapidly exfoliate the skin, allowing dead skin cells to shed more effectively. By keeping dead skin cells and excess oil from clogging the hair follicle, pore blockages (comedones) and can drastically reduce breakouts of papules and pustules.
Chemical peels fall into a broad category of Alpha Hydroxy acids (AHAs) or Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs). Glycolic acid is the most commonly used AHA and Salicylic Acid is the most commonly used BHA in the treatment of acne.
MICRODERMABRASION: Microdermabrasion is done to reduce the oiliness in acne prone skins. It also helps reduce superficial acne scarring.
Laser Hair Removal: Hair removal lasers beam highly concentrated light specifically into hair follicles, where it is absorbed by the pigment in the follicle, destroying the hair. Various types of lasers are used with laser hair removal – the most common are the alexandrite, diode, Neodymium YAG and intense pulsed light sources. The procedure was originally designed to remove dark hairs on light skin. New technologies have made the procedure safer for patients with darker skin.
Liposuction: In liposuction, a surgeon uses a hollow tube known as a cannula to remove pockets of excess fat from various parts of the body. The cannula is inserted through small incisions made in the skin. In some procedures, the fat is loosened with water or liquefied by a laser to facilitate its removal. The procedure is minimally-invasive and is usually performed under local tumescent anesthesia. Some patients may be given a sedative. An IV line is sometimes used to maintain the patient’s fluid balance. The patient’s blood pressure, heart rate and blood oxygen levels are monitored during the procedure. After the fat is removed, the incisions are usually left open to allow for drainage.
Tattoo Removal: Tattoos are no longer considered permanent and irreversible designs or marks on the skin. Dermatologic surgeons can safely and effectively use different techniques to successfully remove unwanted tattoos.
Vein Treatments: Spider veins are formed by the dilation of a small group of blood vessels located close to the surface of the skin. Although they can appear anywhere on the body, spider veins are most commonly found on the face and legs. They usually pose no health hazard, but may produce a dull aching in the legs after prolonged standing and indicate more severe venous disease.
Varicose veins are abnormally swollen or enlarged blood vessels caused by a weakening in the vein’s wall. They can be harmful to a patient’s health because they may be associated with the development of one or more of the following conditions: phlebitis or inflamed, tender vein; thrombosis or a clot in the vein; and venous stasis ulcers or open sores from inadequate tissue oxygen and fluid retention.