Cryosurgery utilizes application of extreme cold (liquid nitrogen) to destroy abnormal tissue. It is used to treat benign or pre-cancerous skin lesions, including actinic keratoses, solar lentigines, skin tags, seborrheic keratosis, and viral warts.
A skin biopsy is a biopsy technique used to remove a skin lesion. The biopsied lesion is then evaluated by a dermatopathologist who renders a microscopic diagnosis. Skin biopsies are used by a dermatologist to diagnose or rule out certain skin conditions or diseases, including skin cancers. There are 3 types of skin biopsies:
- Shave Biopsy – a dermatologist uses a tool similar to a razor blade to remove a small section of the top layers of skin (epidermis and a portion of the dermis).
- Punch Biopsy – a dermatologist uses a circular tool to remove a small section of the skin, including deeper layers (epidermis, dermis, and superficial fat).
- Excisional Biopsy – a dermatologist uses a small scalpel to remove an entire section of abnormal skin down to or through the fatty layer of skin.
Excisional surgery is similar to an excisional biopsy, but is completed on a lesion that has already been diagnosed as malignant, such as a squamous cell carcinoma or a melanoma. In an excisional surgery, the lesion is removed by the dermatologist with a scalpel. The entire lesion and a small portion of surrounding normal skin is removed to insure that there are clear margins (all surrounding tissue is malignancy free).
Electrodesiccation and Curettage is a surgical procedure where a dermatologist removes a skin lesion (typically skin cancers such as squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma) by scraping the lesion with a curette (a long, thin surgical instrument with a sharp curved edge) and then treating the area with an electric needle (electrode) to destroy any remaining cells.
Mohs micrographic surgery is a specialized, methodical surgical technique for the removal of certain skin cancers. Mohs surgery is performed in stages and offers the immediate and complete microscopic examination of removed cancerous tissues, so that all extensions of the cancer can be eliminated. Due to the methodical manner in which tissue is removed and examined, Mohs surgery is the skin cancer treatment with highest reported cure rate. Dr. Sigrid Barklund and Dr. Arielle Gray are the Mohs surgeons for Dermatology & Laser Associates of Medford, LLP.
Photodynamic Therapy is a skin treatment for Actinic Keratoses (AK’S) or acne. PDT is performed by a Certified Technician.
- Treatment of Actinic Keratoses – Aminolevulinic Acid (ALA) is applied to the areas of skin being treated. The ALA remains on the skin for 1-4 hours, depending on the treatment area. The ALA is absorbed by the AK cells, where it is converted into a chemical that makes the AK cells extremely sensitive to blue light. The treated AK cells are then exposed to blue light under the blue light illuminator (BLU-U) where a reaction occurs that destroys the AK cells.
- Treatment of Acne – The acne affected portions of the skin (typically the face) are exposed to blue light under the blue light illuminator (BLU-U). The blue light destroys the P. acnes bacteria on the skin. This treatment is scheduled in approximately 20 minute sessions once or twice per week for approximately 5 weeks.
UVB Phototherapy is utilized to treat psoriasis, vitiligo, and other skin conditions through exposure to narrow-band UVB lights. Patients apply a thin layer of tar or petrolatum to the affected areas of the skin and enter the UVB light box for a prescribed treatment time. Treatments are typically prescribed for 2-3 sessions weekly. After prescription from a dermatologist for UVB Phototherapy, this treatment is provided on a walk-in basis in Suite B at Dermatology & Laser Associates of Medford, LLP.