The 1970s

Dermatologic surgery as a subspecialty has developed over the last 50 years. On Dec. 5, 1970, 29 dermatologic surgeons came together for the first unofficial meeting of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS) while attending the annual meeting for the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).

In 1975, the Journal of Dermatologic Surgery was founded.

The 1980s

Membership in ASDS continued to rise, however in spite of this, the society was met with resistance from the American Board of Dermatology, AAD, and Plastic Surgery in its effort to create a surgical subspecialty board. It was not until 1987 that ASDS finally achieved representation in the American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates.

The 1990s

During the 1990s, the Dermatology Residency Review Committee (a committee of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education [ACGME]) approved the requirement of a dermatologic surgeon for each training program that would oversee resident training. In the late 1990s, ASDS was finally able to convince AMA to list dermatologic surgery as a subspecialty of medicine and surgery. In 1999, ASDS joined the Federation of Specialty Plastic Surgery Societies alongside the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) and the American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (ASOPRS).

The 2000s

In the early 2000s, residencies in dermatology expanded surgical training requirements in cryosurgery, biopsy techniques, laser surgery, excisional surgery, Mohs surgery and reconstruction, neuromodulators and other injectables. As pioneers of skin surgery, dermatologic surgeons refine current technologies and create new products that target issues of fat, collagen, hair and blood vessels. Many of the procedures used to treat the skin and soft tissue were originally developed by dermatologic surgeons.

By 2003, ACGME approved procedural dermatology as a subspecialty with a designated fellowship, but would not allow the use of the word “surgery” in the title. Later, in October of 2018, the American Board of Dermatology approved the name change to Micrographic Dermatologic Surgery, with a planned board exam. To date, dermatologic surgery is the largest and fastest growing subspecialty in dermatology.

The 2010s

Continuing the ASDS mission of educating the public on the unique expertise of dermatologic surgeons both for medical and cosmetic concerns, ASDS conducted its first Annual Survey on Dermatologic Procedures in 2011. Results revealed that its board certified dermatologist members performed more than 7.8 million medically necessary and cosmetic treatments during 2010.

ASDS launched its Consumer Survey on Cosmetic Dermatologic Procedures in 2013 to discover the public’s view and opinion of elective procedures including wrinkle-relaxing injections, dermal fillers, body sculpting and lasers. Survey results showed three in 10 consumers were considering a cosmetic procedure with the desires to look as young as they feel, appear more attractive and feel more confident.

The Premier Resident Cosmetic Symposium was launched in 2015 and quickly became a roaring success with the 3-day event at maximum capacity each year. This live event gives resident dermatologists the opportunity to mingle with renowned faculty during lectures, patient demonstrations, small group hands-on training, discussion of real-world case scenarios and networking with industry representatives.

2018 was a busy year for ASDS, during which it:

  • Rejuvenated the look and feel of its website and marketing materials (both print and digital) to showcase a fresh design with modern fonts and layouts.
  • Streamlined its social media channels to reflect its multiple audiences and created a consumer-facing Instagram account.
  • Converted its Experts Guide from a printed publication into a digital tool, allowing media representatives to easily search for and contact THE skin experts: board certified dermatologist members of ASDS.
  • Hosted Skinnovation NYC, an evening event featuring an expert panel of ASDS members and nearly 60 digital media representative and influencer attendees.
In 2019, ASDS launched scholarship programs – including the Jumpstart Research Seed Grant Program and Vic Narurkar, MD, Resident and Mentorship Program – to help resident and early-career dermatologists fund their research and accelerate their dermatology training through mentorships and hands-on experiences.

The 2020s

2020 marked the Society’s 50th anniversary, honoring its history and celebrating the future throughout the year. Founders, past presidents, members and dermatology residents gathered virtually for a grand finale event, the 50th Anniversary Celebration, during the 2020 ASDS Virtual Annual Meeting. Coinciding with its purpose of bringing dermatologic surgeons together for collaboration and education, ASDS expanded its digital reach by launching a new online member community – ASDS Connect – and a new learning management system – ASDS Learn – to help members network with one another and access educational content at their convenience.


  • History of the ASDS and Dermatologic Surgery Celebrating 35 Years. Rolling Meadows, IL: American Society for Dermatologic Surgery; 2005.
  • Tolkachjov, SN, Brodland, DG, Coldiron, BM, Fazio, MJ, et al. Understanding mohs micrographic surgery: A review and practical guide for the nondermatologist. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 92(8), 1261-1271.
  • Bangash HK, Eisen DB, Armstrong AW, Nelson AA, et al. Who are the pioneers? A critical analysis of innovation and expertise in cutaneous noninvasive and minimally invasive cosmetic and surgical procedures. Dermatol Surg 2016;42:335–51.