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.
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.
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).
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.
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:
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 for a grand finale event, the Signature 50th Anniversary Gala, during the 2020 ASDS Annual Meeting in the Washington, D.C. area. Coinciding with its purpose of bringing dermatologic surgeons together for collaboration and education, ASDS is expanding their digital reach launching a new online member community – called ASDS Connect – and a new learning management system – named ASDS Learn – to help members network with one another and access educational content at their convenience.