Dermatologic surgeons (sometimes referred to as "Dermasurgeons") are Board-certified dermatologists who are members of American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS), a professional medical organization founded in 1970.
After completing their residency education, candidates take an exam given by the American Board of Dermatology (ABD). Doctors who pass the Board-certification exam are then referred to as Diplomates of the ABD (i.e., Board-certified Dermatologists). Dermatologists with special interest in dermatologic surgery may apply to the ASDS for membership by submitting an application and three letters of endorsement from current members of the ASDS. To advance dermatologic surgery as a scientific discipline as well as the knowledge and skills of each practitioner, the ASDS supports clinical and basic research grants and provides continuing education opportunities for its members. The following is a summary of available membership categories with the ASDS:
- Fellow: A U.S. or Canadian physician who is certified by the American Board of Dermatology or in dermatology by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Fellows have the right to attend membership meetings, vote, be a candidate for elective office, and accept appointment to committees and councils.
- Corresponding Fellow: A physician in good standing as a teacher or in research or with three years of full-time experience in the practice of dermatology who resides in any country other than the U.S. or Canada. Educational and professional requirements shall be approximately equivalent to the requirements for certification by the American Board of Dermatology.
- Associate: Any physician in good standing who is a resident of the U.S. or Canada and who has had three years of full-time experience in the practice of, or is a teacher or graduate student of dermatology and who has had training which qualifies the person for the examination of the American Board of Dermatology or the examination in dermatology of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, or who is actively pursuing the educational requirements for certification by the American Board of Dermatology or for certification in dermatology by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.
- Affiliate: Any physician or scientist in good standing who has had specific experience or interest in dermatologic surgery or related scientific fields of endeavor. Affiliates shall have all of the rights of Fellows except that they shall not be eligible to serve in any elective office.
- Trainee: A U.S. or Canadian resident who is in an approved Fellowship Training Program.
Thus, a dermatologic surgeon demonstrates competence in the diagnosis, medical care, and surgical management of the following:
- Diseases and disorders of the skin, hair, nails, veins, and nearby tissues
- Benign and malignant growths and skin cancers
- Aging and sun-damaged skin
- Cosmetic improvement of the skin
Techniques available to a dermatologic surgeon include lasers, traditional scalpel surgery, electrosurgery, cryosurgery, photodynamic therapy, liposuction, blepharoplasty (cosmetic eyelid surgery), minimally-invasive facelift surgery (e.g., the S-lift), and a variety of topical and injectable agents such as dermal fillers including fat transfer and hyaluronic acid.
Some specially trained dermasurgeons perform Mohs cancer surgery, which can be an effective method for the treatment of recurrent, indistinct, or difficult skin cancers.