Since 1972, Memphis Dermatology Clinic has represented the state of the art in skin care and skin cancer therapy. At the forefront of the development of the groundbreaking Mohs procedure, our physicians now lead the world in its practice.
To you, it's important that you know your doctors—where they've practiced, how long, and with whom. We couldn't agree more, and we appreciate the chance to tell the story of our practice as well as ourselves.
Founded in 1972, Memphis Dermatology Clinic has grown from a small practice with a single doctor into the world's largest center for Mohs Microscopic Surgery.
It all began with a dramatic risk-taking decision by Dr. Rex Amonette. While in the second year of his residency at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, his mentor and chairman, Dr. William Rosenberg, learned about a procedure for the treatment of skin cancer that had been developed by Dr. Frederic Mohs at the University of Wisconsin. Dr. Perry Robins at New York University was beginning to use Mohs's techniques; Amonette flew to New York and committed to a fellowship year with Dr. Robins. Amonette became only the second fellowship-trained physician in the United States to practice the Mohs method.
Advancing this procedure and gaining acceptance for it in the medical community became the driving force of Amonette's career. Traditionalists resisted the new strategy. To them it seemed much easier to surgically remove a cancer by cutting deep enough to get it all; if it returned, cut again. The Mohs technique involved excising small layers of skin, preparing the specimen for frozen section microscopic examination, and continuing until no evidence of the cancer remained. Over time, the techniques and technology of Mohs surgery have been steadily improved and are now recognized in the medical community as the best approach to curing skin cancers. Amonette and senior physicians at Memphis Dermatology Clinic have played a key role in demonstrating the success of Mohs surgery and in establishing a place for it in the training of dermatologists and other surgical specialists.
The inauspicious beginning in 1972—one doctor assisted by a nurse/technician, his wife Johnnie, and a cousin from Texas as the receptionist/secretary/office manager—quickly turned into a very busy practice. Just four years later, Harvey Gardner completed his Mohs training with Rex and joined him as partner; in 1982, Frank Witherspoon did the same. Lee Allen, a native Memphian, returned to the clinic where he trained after a successful career in Portland, Oregon. In the last decade, a younger generation of physicians has energized the practice: Drs. Gwen Beard, Robin Friedman-Musicante, John Huber, Amy Amonette Huber, Courtney Woodmansee, Frances Lawhead, and Emily Overholser.
With nine surgeons and a staff of fifty, the clinic occupies two buildings in Midtown Memphis at the corner of Union Avenue and Kimbrough. Patients appreciate the large, comfortable waiting rooms, where they can be with their families as they await test results and completion of the surgery. The Mohs technique requires an on-site lab for examination of freshly cut tissues. The work of physicians, lab technicians, nurses, and clerical staff is still coordinated by the Texas cousin, Brenda Webb Lanier, with the assistance of longtime employees Brenda Powell and Rhonda Williams.
Dr. Amonette's achievements have been recognized with the highest honors of his profession. After serving as president of both the national and international organizations of dermatological surgeons, he was elected President of the American Academy of Dermatology in 1995. More recently, he was awarded the Academy's Gold Medal for Lifetime Accomplishment. His wife, Johnnie Amonette, a significant partner in the work of his professional offices, has served as President of the American Medical Association Alliance and a University of Tennessee trustee. After thirty-five years, Rex Amonette maintains a busy schedule of seeing patients, providing leadership in professional organizations, and keeping the clinic in the forefront of medical practice.
Rex A. Amonette, M.D., F.A.A.D.
Dr. Amonette completed his medical degree at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. After his residency at UT Memphis and fellowship at the New York University Skin and Cancer Center, he founded Memphis Dermatology Clinic in 1972. With long lists of subsequent honors and publications, and having headed local and state professional organizations, he was elected President of the American Academy of Dermatology in 1995, receiving its Gold Medal Award in 2005. The following year, he received the Frederic E. Mohs Distinguished Service Award.
J. Harvey Gardner, M.D., F.A.A.D. (Emeritus)
Having completed his medical degree at the University of Tennessee and two tours of duty with the U.S. Air Force, Dr. Gardner came to Memphis Dermatology Clinic in 1976 to serve a fellowship in Mohs Micrographic Surgery. Since then, he has presided over local and state dermatological societies while continuing to practice. Dr. Gardner currrently holds an assistant professorship at the University of Tennessee.
Frank G. Witherspoon, Jr., M.D., F.A.A.D.
With degrees from Vanderbilt and Middle Tennessee State Universities and the University of Tennessee, Dr. Witherspoon completed his internship at the City of Memphis Hospital and residency at the UT Health Science Center, where he holds an assistant professorship to this day. He is a fellow of several dermatologic societies, including the American College of Mohs Micrographic Surgery and Cutaneous Oncology. Dr. Witherspoon has practiced with Memphis Dermatology Clinic since 1982.
Lee Allen, M.D., F.A.A.D. (Emeritus)
A Memphis native, Dr. Allen nonetheless took a circuitous route to Memphis Dermatology Clinic. After undergraduate studies at Purdue and Tulane Universities in the U.S., as well as the Universities of Vienna and Paris, he completed his medical degree at the University of Tennessee. After internship and residency in Memphis, Dr. Allen began sixteen-year practice with Northwest Permanente Clinic in Portland, Oregon. In 1986, Dr. Allen returned to Memphis to practice with us.
F. Gwen Beard, M.D., F.A.A.D.
Having completed her medical degree at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, Dr. Beard served her internship and residency with the University of Tennessee in Memphis. After her fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia, she came to Memphis Dermatology Clinic, where she has practiced since 1999. She specializes in Mohs micrographic surgery and surgical dermatology as well as practicing general and cosmetic dermatology.
Robin Friedman, M.D., F.A.A.D.
Board-certified by the American Board of Dermatology, Dr. Friedman was educated at the University of Tennessee. Following residency, Dr. Friedman completed a one-year advanced fellowship in Mohs micrographic skin cancer surgery, dermatologic laser surgery, and cosmetic dermatology at the Methodist Hospital of the Baylor University School of Medicine in Houston, Texas, under the direction of Leonard H. Goldberg, M.D., FRCP. She joined Memphis Dermatology Clinic in 2000, where she has a thriving practice and academic career.
Amy Amonette Huber, M.D., F.A.A.D.
After undergraduate studies at The University of the South, Dr. Amy Huber completed her medical degree, internship, residency, and fellowship at UT Memphis. She has practiced with Memphis Dermatology Clinic since 2004.
Courtney S. Woodmansee, M.D., F.A.A.D.
Dr. Woodmansee joined in 2008 after a fellowship in Mohs Micrographic Surgery at the University of Louisville. Prior to her fellowship, her studies had taken her from the University of Mississippi to the UT Memphis Health Science Center, where she completed her medical degree, internship, and residency. She brings research experience from St. Jude and LeBonheur children's hospitals, as well as a growing list of publications and presentations.
Frances K. Lawhead, M.D., F.A.A.D.
A lifetime "Vol," Dr. Lawhead completed her undergraduate work at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville followed by medical school and a dermatology residency at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis. She then moved to "the Swamp" to pursue her Mohs Micrographic Surgery Fellowship at the University of Florida. Dr. Lawhead belongs to the American Academy of Dermatology, American College of Mohs Surgery, and Alpha Omega Alpha. She joined the staff of Memphis Dermatology Clinic, P.A., in January 2013.
Emily Overholser, M.D., F.A.A.D.
After completing her undergraduate studies at the University of Florida, Dr. Overholser joined the Seminole nation for her medical training at Florida State University. She came to UT Memphis for her internship and residency in dermatology. She and her husband love Memphis and decided to settle here. Dr. Overholser became a diplomate of the American Academy of Dermatology in August 2014, at which time she joined Memphis Dermatology Clinic.
Joseph Pietrangelo, M.D., F.A.A.D.
Born and raised in Memphis, Dr. Pietrangelo earned both a Bachelor's and Master's degree at the University of Notre Dame. After pursuing an advanced degree in theology in Berkeley, California, Dr. Pietrangelo returned home for medical school at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, where he was inducted into Alpha Omega Alpha and graduated with highest honors. Dr. Pietrangelo and his wife have two daughters.
Each year, more than 1.2 million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer. While skin cancer is not always life threatening, it can progress if left untreated. Memphis Dermatology Clinic offers the most advanced treatment for skin cancer: Mohs micrographic surgery. This procedure offers the greatest potential for cure while minimizing the cosmetic impact on the patient.
This highly innovative and successful procedure involves removing the tumor, along with a very thin layer of skin tissue, which is immediately frozen and microscopically examined for cancer cells. If cancer cells are found, an additional thin layer of tissue from that very specific area of concern is removed and microscopically examined for cancer cells. If evidence of disease exists, the process continues, as layer by layer the cancer is traced out until it is completely gone. With Mohs surgery, only affected skin is removed, preserving as much of the surrounding healthy tissue as possible, thus minimizing the cosmetic impact. Mohs surgery is performed under local anesthetic as an outpatient procedure.
Mohs surgery is very effective for skin cancers that:
Our goal at MDC is to ensure your total comfort and understanding of any surgery, so following is a detailed outline of this procedure:
Because we want all of our patients to be as comfortable, relaxed and informed as possible, we recommend that you read all information we provide to you regarding the procedure and ask questions. Prior to surgery, it is important to be well rested, to eat a good breakfast and to plan to spend a few hours at our facility. You may want to have someone accompany you to drive you home.
Your physician will be assisted by a team of nurses, medical assistants, and lab technicians who will be involved in your care. Local anesthesia is used to numb the area prior to the removal of tissue. Our office laboratory processes the tissue into multiple frozen sections. This usually takes about 45 minutes. If the microscopic examination of the frozen sections reveals additional skin cancer cells, we will continue the process, removing only residual tumor and sparing the healthy skin.
Immediately following surgery, you may experience some pain, which can usually be managed with an over-the-counter pain reliever. Significant blood loss following Mohs Micrographic Surgery is rare, but if you experience bleeding, please contact our office.
In order to facilitate the healing process, it's very important to take good care of yourself following your procedure. Your physician or nurse will provide you with detailed information on how to care for your wound.
Healing options will be discussed with you once surgery is complete. Some surgical wounds heal best when left open, while others heal best with closure by placement of sutures. In unusual cases, your physician may refer you to a plastic surgeon for repair of the wound.
We may make periodic follow-up appointments for you until your wound has healed. It's important to know that once you have developed a skin cancer, you are more susceptible to developing additional skin cancers in the future.
Some of the above content adapted from DermSurgery.org.
Memphis Dermatology Clinic physicians have extensive training in treating the following cosmetic skin conditions:
Types of procedures performed to correct these conditions include:
This treatment uses a variety of chemicals including glycolic acid, salicylic acid and trichloroacetic acid. These peels vary in strength and can help acne, fine lines and discoloration.
During this procedure, the skin is gently buffed using light pressure and ultrafine crystals. This gradually smooths the skin and is an excellent procedure for sensitive skin and for darker skin tones.
This treatment is one of the most advanced, reliable and effective methods of removing dark, unwanted hair growth. With a series of Candela Gentlelase laser treatments, hair is removed to reveal soft, smooth, stubble-free skin.
These scars can be treated with the Candela V-beam pulse dye laser. These light sources can be used to decrease bumps, redness and shallow scars with a series of treatments. Chemical peels may also benefit a patient with acne and/or scars.
These discolorations can be treated either with chemical peels, microdermabrasion or laser. A series of treatments can achieve lightening of these areas of increased pigment.
These conditions are treated with the Candela V-Beam pulse dye laser.
These conditions can be improved with microdermabrasion, chemical peels, laser, Botox/Dysport and fillers (Restylane, Restylane Silk, Restylane Lyft, Juvederm Voluma, Juvederm Volbella, Bellafill, Kybella). Procedures are tailored to your skin's needs.
We do other things as well.
Since Dr. Amonette's early adoption of the Mohs method for treatment of skin cancer in the early 1970s, MDC has continued to attract, train, and retain Mohs-certified physicians. As a result, the clinic has become one of the nation's preeminent Mohs-based practices.
In addition, our staff are experts in cosmetic and elective procedures, employing today's most advanced laser, chemical, and pharmacological therapies to keep our patients looking, feeling, and living their best.
Our goal at MDC is to ensure your total comfort and understanding of any surgical procedure.
Prior to scheduling the surgery, you may visit with the doctor, who will answer any questions you have and will discuss the procedure in greater detail. He will examine your skin cancer, obtain your medical history and make an assessment to determine the most beneficial and effective treatment. He will also give you material to take home and read prior to the procedure.
Because we want all of our patients to be as comfortable, relaxed and informed as possible, we recommend that you read all information we provide to you regarding the procedure, ask questions, and follow the pre-op guidelines given to you during your first visit.
Prior to surgery, it is important to be well rested, to eat a good breakfast and to plan to spend a few hours at our facility. We also suggest that someone accompany you to drive you home.
In order to facilitate the healing process, it's very important to take good care of yourself following your procedure. Memphis Dermatology Clinic will provide you with detailed information on how to care for your wound in the weeks following surgery. However, you should plan on wearing a dressing for approximately one to two weeks, while avoiding any strenuous activities.
Your surgical scar will heal in one to two weeks. Immediately following surgery, you may experience minimal pain, which can be managed with an over-the-counter pain reliever. Significant blood loss following this type of surgery is rare, but if you experience bleeding, please contact our office. The area may feel swollen or even lumpy, especially during the first few months.
We will make periodic follow-up appointments for you until your wound has healed. It's important to know that once you have developed a skin cancer, you are more susceptible to developing additional skin cancers in the future. If you notice any suspicious areas, contact your doctor for an evaluation.
In any medical treatment, the first step is information-gathering. The more we know about you, your personal and family medical history, your current condition, and your current medical and drug therapies, the better we will be able to diagnose and treat your symptoms. That's why we ask you to fill out intake forms when you come to see us.
If desired, you may download our intake forms and fill them out prior to your first visit to the clinic. This will not only save time in the intake process, but also give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing you are prepared to begin treatment.
For your convenience, we've posted our intake forms here on our site. You may choose to download the forms, complete them with your information, and bring them with you to the office upon your first visit to expedite your intake and save time in the office.
For more information on the causes, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of skin cancers of all kinds, consult the following Web sites:
For more information on cosmetic procedures and products, we recommend the following Web sites:
We understand the importance of staying abreast of the latest research and maintaining strong relationships with our colleagues. Professional associations and affiliations keep our therapies up to date and demonstrate our commitment to the growth of the study and practice of dermatology.
Today, you as a patient have more access to medical information than ever before. The Web puts tremendous resources at your fingertips, and for that we are grateful—when more people have more access to more good information, we all benefit.
Of course, not all information is created equal. The Web is home to bad sites as well as good sites. We'd rather you invested your time with the good ones. To point you in the right direction, we've collected links to trusted, authoritative sources on skin cancer as well as cosmetic and elective procedures and products. Many links include summaries of the sites' strengths.
We have also included a collection of links to our professional associations, with whom we are joined in the ongoing growth of the practice of dermatology worldwide.
Mailing Address and Phone:
Memphis Dermatology Clinic
1455 Union Ave.
Memphis, TN 38104
Memphis Dermatology Clinic is conveniently located in Midtown Memphis at 1455 Union Avenue, two blocks east of I-240.
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