Surgical Dermatology

While most types of dermatologic conditions can be successfully treated through topical medications and nonsurgical treatments, certain conditions may require a more intense treatment approach to relieve symptoms, restore a normal appearance and prevent complications from conditions such as skin cancer, scars, cysts and varicose and spider veins. Most cosmetic concerns of the skin can also be treated surgically, often using minimally invasive techniques.

Depending on the type and severity of each patient’s individual skin condition, dermatologic surgery can provide long-term results through safe and highly effective procedures that are associated with short recovery times and minimal scarring. While patients often experience mild redness and skin irritation after these procedures, they are able to quickly return to normal activities and achieve long-term results after treatment.

Dr. Thomas provides a wide range of surgical procedures to provide patients with the most effective results for their skin condition, including thorough removal of skin cancer and other harmful diseases. The best treatment for each patient will be determined during a one-on-one evaluation that includes a physical exam and discussion of the patient’s goals for treatment.

Skin Cancer Surgery | Keloid Treatment, Keloid Surgery | Electrodessication and Curettage | Cryosurgery | Ear Lobe Reconstruction

Skin Cancer Surgery

Skin cancer surgery is one of the most commonly performed dermatologic procedures, as well as one of the most effective treatments for skin cancer. It involves the systematic removal and analysis of skin at the tumor site until the last traces of cancerous tissue have been eliminated. Only cancerous tissue is removed during this process, minimizing both post-operative wound size and the risk of regrowth.

Skin cancer surgery is most commonly used for basal and squamous cell carcinomas, and the removal of melanoma. Its high precision makes it ideal for treatment of cancer in cosmetically and functionally critical areas such as the face, hands, feet and genitals.

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Keloid Treatment, Keloid Surgery

Keloids are overgrown areas of scar tissue that form at the site of a previous injury such as an incision, wound, vaccination, pimples, ear or body piercings.  A keloid appears on the skin as an irregularly-shaped, flesh colored or red scar that is raised above the rest of the skin and continues to grow into areas that were not affected by the initial injury. 

Treatment of keloids can vary depending on the personal preference and desired outcome of the patient, but may include injections or surgery to reduce the appearance or completely remove the keloid and restore the appearance of the skin. These procedures are considered safe, but may leave a scar in the treated area. No re-piercing may be done after keloid excision.

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Electrodessication and Curettage

Electrodessication and curettage is a combination skin cancer treatment that involves scraping the abnormal cells with a curette and then "burning" or cauterizing the area with an electric current or liquid nitrogen to seal the blood vessels and remove all remaining cancer cells. This process may be repeated up to three times to ensure complete removal.

Curettage may be performed alone or in conjunction with other treatments. When performed together, electrodessication and curettage are most effective for primary lesions and are sometimes used for recurrent lesions as well. Your doctor will determine which treatment is best for your individual condition.

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Cryosurgery

Cryosurgery, also known as cryotherapy, is a minimally invasive treatment that uses freezing cold temperatures to destroy abnormal tissue cells. These cells can include skin tumors, nodules, skin tags or other unwanted lesions on the skin that may be of medical or cosmetic concern.

During the cryosurgery procedure, your doctor will apply nitrogen directly to the skin. The diseased cells cannot survive extremely cold conditions and will be destroyed. Cryosurgery has a shorter treatment and recovery time than surgical procedures while providing highly effective results. Pigment loss and swelling may occur in the treated area after this type of surgery, but most patients are able to achieve successful results with cryotherapy.

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Ear Lobe Reconstruction

The auricle (outside) of the ear is composed entirely of soft tissue. The more rigid areas consist of only skin covering cartilage with a minor amount of connective tissue between the two, while the ear lobe itself is just a fatty tissue deposit at the bottom of the auricle. These are fragile structures that are very susceptible to damage, especially after being pierced; large and heavy pieces of ear jewelry will only exacerbate the weakness of the ear lobe. Luckily, because there is no cartilage in the actual ear lobes, they can generally be repaired with successful results and minimal risk of deformity.

Ear lobe reconstruction patients generally do not need pain medication, as over-the-counter pain relievers will suffice if discomfort persists. No jewelry may be used for two to six months after surgery. No repiercing of the ear may be done for one year after the surgery. Skin sutures, will be removed two weeks after surgery. Otherwise, recovery is quite fast, with most patients returning to normal activity in less than a week.

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