In good old days, Dermatology was a neglected branch of Medicine and was being looked at as a step child. In a sense, this was true because dermatologists had a limited armamentarium to treat various skin conditions. It was humiliating to a dermatologist to face a comment like “A patient with skin disease neither dies nor gets cured”. Leave aside medical treatment, procedural dermatology was in its infancy, restricted to chemical cautery and paring of warts. Electrocautery and cryotherapy with CO2 ice was becoming popular for treating warts. Localized stable patches of vitiligo were treated with camouflage tattooing but the results were not aesthetically pleasant. Dr. P. N. Behl was one of the senior dermatologists, who motivated junior dermatologists to learn cutaneous surgery, way back in the 9th decade of the last century. Split thickness skin graft and punch graft for stable patches of vitiligo became a routine surgical procedure in the dermatology practice. Those who were reluctant to use a knife, preferred a less invasive procedure suction blister grafting. Thanks to the pioneer work from dedicated people like R Falabella, Koga and many others. Suction blister graft technique was demonstrated for the first time in India during the national conference held at Vizag by me. Then onwards, holding a preconference workshop on dermatologic surgery became a tradition. Dr. Satish Sawant from Mumbai, Dr. C.R. Srinivas from Manipal and Dr. V.P.Kaushik from Delhi played a major role in organizing these workshops. Dermatologists started learning techniques like dermabrasion, cryoslush, chemical peels etc. through these workshops.
The merger in the 2000s
During the national conference held at Manipal in 1993, an idea was floated on the lawns of KMC Manipal, why not share and spread the knowledge in the field of dermatologic surgery through an association of dermatologists with special interest in surgery. This novel idea was upheld by everyone present there including Dr. Vinay Saraf. This conceived baby was christened as ADSI ( Association of Dermatological Surgeons of India).
The first event of this association was held at Bangalore. This turned out to be a great start, all credit to the efforts by the enthusiastic duo, Srinivas Murthy and Krupashankar. Dr. C. R. Srinivas was the first president of ADSI. Subsequent conferences were held at Jaipur and Coimbatore. It was decided that the ADSI conference will be a biennial event. At the same time, people with similar thoughts had formed an association, Indian academy of cutaneous surgeons (IACS) at Kolkata under the able leadership of Dr. Subrata Malakar. Initially office bearers of both the organizations were unaware of the existence of such 2 separate associations related to a same super-specialty of dermatology. Ultimately it was mutually decided to merge these two associations into one strong national association, and Association of Cutaneous Surgeons of India (ACSI) was established. ACSI logo was designed by me in 2000. With the advent of new century, ACSI advanced by leaps and bounds. Under the presidency of Dr. Vinay Saraf, and me as secretary
The organisation flourishes
Foundation of the association was well led and the constructive work progressed with great efforts from nooks and corners of India. Dr. Kalla from Jodhpur, Dr. Dinesh Mathur from Jaipur, Dr. Niti Khunger and Dr Somesh Gupta from Delhi and Chandigarh, Dr. Narendra Patwardhan from Pune, Dr. Aniruddha Gulanikar from Aurangabad, Dr. Shyamanta,Dr Raghunath Reddy R, Dr. Salim organized ACSICONs successfully at their respective places. Dr Raghunath Reddy organized ACSICON in Bangalore in 2013 and Dr ABul Kalam was invited as chief guest. Any association needs an authentic publication to reach and teach people. The first publication IJDS was published under the editorship of the versatile knowledgeable Dr. Mukul Sharma. A booklet on the legal aspects related to surgery and procedures was well compiled by Dr. Putta Sriniwas. Youngsters willing to get trained are offered ACSI fellowships at various institutes in all parts of the country. Many fellows have availed this facility and have been benefited
Post the 2010s
The first decade of this century witnessed many new revolutionary techniques including devices and lasers. Day by day ACSI became a trustworthy platform to keep pace with the advances n this challenging field. The driving force behind this progress was a great energetic, dynamic and efficient personality from Bangalore. No marks for guessing, yes he is Dr Venkatram Mysore. He gave an altogether new dimensions to ACSI. He motivated dermatosurgeons in the making, stimulated them to innovate and modify existing techniques. Brought laurels when ACSI team was a part of WCOCD 2012 held at Cancun, Mexico. He also successfully organized ACSICON 2012 at Delhi in association with ISDS. As an editor, he made JCAS (I call it Zakaas) a recognized, highly appreciated publication. A newsletter of ACSI, ACSIPEN is also regularly published. Venkat took ACSI to the topmost level when he published the ACSI textbook of Cutnaeous surgery. Contributions of Col Dr.Manas Chatterjee and Dr.Niti Khunger for the progress of ACS(I) is tremendous. Under the banner of ACS(I) workshops, they also have trained many youngeters in dermatosurgery. ACSI got officially registered as ACS(I) at Pune through the efforts by Dr. Narendra Patwardhan and Dr. Dhanashree Bhide. Multiple Focus Groups were created and several multicentric studies were conducted under our Association along with their Coordinators as below: