Surgical Dermatology

A team of dermatologic surgeons operate on a skin cancer

The OHSU Department of Dermatology surgeons offer exceptional expertise in the management of skin cancer such as melanoma, high-risk basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and various rare tumors. 

Our surgeons are fellowship trained and are nationally and internationally known for their expertise in mohs micrographic surgery, as well as reconstructive surgery. In addition to skin cancer, our surgeons treat many other skin conditions that require surgery and provide laser and cosmetic surgery. As part of Oregon's only NCI-designated cancer center, our surgical teams use the latest technologies and research to improve patient outcomes.

Treating skin cancers

There are a wide variety of surgical treatment options for skin cancers depending on the type and location of diagnosis. Recommended treatments may include:

  • Surgical removal
  • Mohs micrographic surgery and reconstruction
  • Cryotherapy (liquid nitrogen freezing)
  • Electrodesiccation and curettage (tumor is cut from the skin and electrical current stops bleeding and destroys cancer cells)
  • Topical chemotherapy and immunotherapy 
  • Chemotherapy
  • Biologic therapy
  • Radiation therapy

Because each diagnosis is different, our provider team will work with you to determine the best course of treatment for your individual needs

Mohs micrographic surgery

Mohs micrographic surgery offers the highest potential for skin cancer cure - even if the skin cancer has been previously treated. Performed as an out-patient procedure, Mohs micrographic surgery removes the affected area entirely while sparing the surrounding healthy skin. Our surgical team is one of only centers to use specialized immunohistochemistry (staining techniques) during surgery, allowing our team to see the melanoma cells and assure they are completely removing the tumor. Our clinic also has access to advanced imaging technologies to help them visualize the cancer at a cellular level before the use of invasive biopsy.

Mohs micrographic surgery is commonly used to remove large tumors, tumors in hard-to-treat places, recurrent tumors, and those occurring in areas where preservation of normal skin is essential (such as the tissue surrounding the eyes or nose). It is most commonly performed on basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas, and is useful on melanomas in some cases.

Learn more.

Multidisciplinary melanoma care

Treating melanoma requires complete removal of the cancer. Our dermatologists collaborate with an multidisciplinary melanoma team to determine if you need more treatment after cancer surgery. To learn more about this multidisciplinary approach, visit the Melanoma page within the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute. 

Our providers

Mohs surgery: Before and after procedure examples

A comparison collage of images for a Mohs surgery patient

A skin graft can provide an excellent closure option for certain wounds where there is not enough loose skin available for direct side to side closure of the defect, or where closure will impact a "free margin" such as the rim of the nostril. 

A comparison collage of images for a Mohs surgery patient