Dermatologic disquisitions and other essays| Volume 24, ISSUE 5, P458-460, September 2006

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Why not Nichols chemosurgery?

      Mohs fresh-tissue technique for difficult cutaneous malignancies is well known and widely accepted. Less widely known by general dermatologists is Mohs chemosurgery, the technique that launched the career of Frederick Mohs, MD, surgeon. His technique used a dark escharotic paste containing zinc chloride, bloodroot, and stibnite for in situ tissue fixation followed by microscopically controlled mapped excision. Virtually unknown today is Perry Lewis Nichols, MD (the Nichols Sanatorium and the Nichols escharotic method). Dr Nichols developed a “secret” escharotic formula that was used to treat more than 70,000 patients with mainly skin, mucosal, and breast cancer. Starting in Iowa (1896), the sanatorium achieved remarkable growth in Hot Springs, SD (1905-1915), expanded to Excelsior Springs, Mo (1911), and had its greatest success in Savannah, Mo (1912-1956).
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      Gary A. Dyer, MD, is in the private practice of dermatology and dermatopathology in St Joseph, Mo, and Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Dermatology, University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine. At the university, he conducts a monthly clinical case conference as part of dermatology resident education. He has served as President of the Missouri State Medical Association, Missouri Dermatological Society, Kansas City Dermatological Society, MU Medical Alumni Organization, MU Medical School Foundation, Buchanan County Medical Society, and the hospital medical staff. He is currently Chair of the Council on Member Services for the American Academy of Dermatology and serves on the Board of Directors and Annenberg Circle Committee of the Dermatology Foundation. Past service includes Alternate Delegate to the AMA; Councilor from Missouri to the Southern Medical Association; Board of Directors of the Noah Worcester Dermatological Society; Board of Directors of MOMEDICO, a medical liability insurance company; and member of the Executive Committee of the Advisory Board of the AAD. Recent awards include Practitioner of the Year Award from the Dermatology Foundation, Outstanding Missourian Award from the Missouri House of Representatives, Distinguished Service Award from the MU Medical Alumni Organization, Faculty-Alumni Award from the MU Alumni Association, and the Distinguished Service Award from the Missouri Dermatological Society. He is cofounder of the Philip C. Anderson, MD, Professorship in Dermatology and founder of the Dermatology Research Fund, both at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine. Dr Dyer is married and has three children and five grandchildren. His outside interests include grandchildren, farming, genealogy research, and Sherlock Holmes.