Local pioneer in cryosurgery gets lectureship named in his honor

Published 7:00 am Thursday, March 16, 2017

Each year, the Mississippi Dermatology Association holds a meeting to invite renowned dermatologists from across the world to give lectures about their expertise. In light of his effort to bring a new surgical technique to the South, his lifelong involvement in the field and his leadership and commitment to the association, the MDA decided to name its annual lectureship after a dermatologist who practices at the Hattiesburg Clinic Dermatology—Picayune, Ronald R. Lubritz, MD, FAAD, FACP.
The third generation New Orleans native said that after seeing numerous cases of pre-cancer in the area, he decided to bring cryogenic surgery to the southern region of America. He learned of the technique after reading numerous books by Dr. Douglas P. Torre, a pioneer in cryogenic surgery.
Lubritz said that cryosurgery is a surgical practice in which the use of liquid nitrogen is used to remove abnormal tissue, preventing bleeding during the procedure.
Two doctors, Dr. Torre of Cornell University and Dr. Setrag Zacarian of Springfield, Massachusetts, developed the modern day cryosurgery. After they started it in the early 1960s, a few others worked along side them as the second generation of the surgical technique; Lubritz was the first of that second generation. Lubritz’s accomplishments and investigative work led to the development of the sub-specialization surgical practice.
“I stood on the shoulders of those two doctors to teach and disseminate the knowledge they bestowed upon us,” Lubritz said. “After reading about and witnessing pre-cancer here in the Deep South, I knew there would be a good niche where the technique could benefit many people and save lives.”
Lubritz spent many years traveling the world, sharing the knowledge of cryosurgery, and has lectured about the practice across the U.S.
Now, after years of developing and publishing works about the technique, Lubritz is being recognized.
“It’s a great honor, but I feel that it is undeserved,” Lubritz said. “As physicians, we have an oath to keep, not only to our patients, but to our colleagues. The oath tells you that if you have knowledge that your colleagues could use, you are obligated to advance that knowledge, and I feel that is what I have done.”
Lubritz also practices at the Hattiesburg Clinic Dermatology and Laurel Dermatology and has been the MDA president for the past 16 years. He co-authored over a dozen medical books in cryosurgery.
Lubritz said he has enjoyed his career in the medical field, but what he enjoyed most in life was his military career. Lubritz joined the National Guard when he moved to Mississippi and later joined the Army Reserves, becoming commander of four hospitals, one in Gulport, two in Biloxi and another in Jackson.
Now, Lubritz wishes to continue to make strides in the advancement of dermatology, and is honored to be recognized and valued by his colleagues for his medical contributions, he said.
The next MDA meeting will be held in April, where the first “Lubritz Lectureship” will be presented to a nationally or internationally known expert in dermatology.

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