Dr. Rachel Epstein
Dr. Rachel Epstein is a Tampa Bay native. She is a board-certified dermatologist and fellowship-trained Mohs surgeon. She is a graduate of The University of Miami where she obtained a B.S., Summa Cum Laude, in Exercise Physiology and Biology and earned her medical degree with highest honors from Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine. Following Residency, Dr. Epstein completed a combined Procedural Dermatology and Mohs Micrographic Surgery Fellowship at Loma Linda University in California where she also served as a Clinical Instructor of Dermatology. She has trained extensively in the treatment and management of skin cancers as well as advanced reconstructive repairs.
Dr. Epstein is an avid fitness enthusiast. Currently, she enjoys pilates, yoga, barre and spending time with her husband and three young children.
Dr. Nicole Howe
Dr. Nicole Howe is a board-certified dermatologist and fellowship-trained Mohs surgeon. After obtaining her Bachelors of Science at the University of Florida, Dr. Howe received her Medical Degree and completed her residency at the University of South Florida. She attended the University of Vermont for a fellowship in Mohs Micrographic Surgery and Dermatologic Oncology. She underwent extensive training in treatment for cutaneous oncology and reconstructive surgery. Prior to returning to Florida to be closer to family, she was Assistant Professor of Dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania. She has years of service at the James A Haley Veterans Hospital and is committed to providing the highest quality of care for her patients. In her free time, Dr. Howe enjoys hiking and spending time with her husband and two boys.
About Mohs Surgery
What is Mohs surgery?
Mohs surgery is a specialized surgery used primarily to treat the two most common types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. A board certified, fellowship trained Mohs surgeon performs the surgery in a comfortable office setting while the patient is awake using local anesthesia so that the patient does not feel anything during the procedure. The area where cancer cells have been detected by prior biopsy is identified and then the patient is prepped and numbed. The Mohs surgeon then removes the area that has been identified as being a skin cancer along with a very thin rim (“margin”) of surrounding skin. The patient is then bandaged and sent to our Mohs waiting room to relax while the Mohs surgeon checks the edges of the tissue for cancer cells by looking through a microscope. If any cancer cells are detected, the patient will be brought back to have more tissue removed. If not, the Mohs surgeon will repair the area by using plastic surgery techniques. The area may or may not need stitches. Aftercare instructions are then provided by our caring nursing staff. The bottom line is:
1. Mohs has the HIGHEST CURE RATE of any procedure that removes skin cancer.
2. Mohs allows you to KEEP THE MOST NORMAL SKIN of any procedure used to remove skin cancer so that a patient has the best functional and cosmetic outcome possible.
When is Mohs appropriate?
Mohs surgery is typically only used in special circumstances, most commonly for cancers occurring in areas of the body like the face, ears, hands, and feet where taking as little normal skin as possible is most important.
Our Mohs surgeon
At St. Petersburg Dermatology, we have an excellent board certified, fellowship trained Mohs surgeon who has been performing Mohs surgery in the Tampa Bay area for many years. Dr. Rachel Epstein is not only experienced, but she is also a very kind and gentle physician. She understands the importance of both treating cancer and obtaining a beautiful cosmetic result.
We happily accept referrals for Mohs surgery. Many of our patients may have been biopsied by a doctor out of state or by an office locally that does not have a Mohs surgeon. If you have a dermatologist already, you may have your Mohs surgery at our office and then continue seeing your dermatologist for skin exams and your other skin care needs.
If you have any questions regarding Mohs surgery, please do not hesitate to contact our office, and we will be happy to assist you!