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November 2000

What's in a Name?Are We Dermatologic Surgeons or Surgical Dermatologists?

Arch Dermatol. 2000;136(11):1406-1407. doi:10.1001/archderm.136.11.1406

DERMATOLOGY has evolved from a specialty that was originally perceived as chiefly medical to a broader field that now encompasses both medicine and surgery. The American Board of Medical Specialties does not categorize specialties on a medical or surgical basis, but dermatologic surgery is recognized as a subspecialty of dermatology by the American Medical Association. Our surgery is distinguished by expertise in local anesthesia. Historically, we have been a specialty that cares for diseases of the skin; however, in the past decade we have defined dermatologists as specialty experts in the medical, surgical, and cosmetic treatment of the skin, hair, and nails. We have tried to communicate to the broader medical community that we are the experts for the management of skin cancer and other common skin diseases. Because of the breadth of what we call our expertise, what we call ourselves is of paramount importance. In essence, we are what we do.

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