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Delaware Surgical Arts to add new operating room

Katie Tabeling

Delaware Surgical Arts in Newark has been approved for a new operating room, needed to address the rise in patients seeking skin cancer treatment. | DBT PHOTO BY KATIE TABELING

NEWARK — The Delaware Surgical Arts, a center that focuses on plastic and reconstructive surgery for skin cancer patients, will be adding another operating room to its facility.

With the approval of the Health Resources Board in late July, the Delaware Surgical Arts will spend roughly $450,000 on adding a local anesthesia procedure room to accommodate the need for more operating time and quick treatment, according to its application.

“With our patient base growing in the region, this project will let the Delaware Surgical Arts continue to offer state-of-the-art care in a more efficient timetable,” Delaware Surgical Arts CEO Mary Pat Kwoka told the Delaware Business Times.

As of today, the Delaware Surgical Arts has two operating rooms and two procedure rooms that focuses primarily on pla

stic and reconstructive surgery for skin care patients in the state. Nationally skin cancer incidence was 77% between 1994 and 2014, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.

Since the surgery center opened in 2005, the number of cases performed each year has steadily increased. In 2021, the facility treated 3,022 cases — a 65% increase over 12 years. Patients not only come from Delaware’s three counties, but from Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

When the facility opened, two physicians would block two days a week at a time, with several other physicians using unassigned time. That has since grown to four surgeons requesting an operating room for their patients, and each surgeon operates more than one day per week and some as many as three or four days. 

Three of the four surgeons also have block time at area hospitals and yet their patients have found increasing wait times.

The Delaware Surgical Arts operating rooms are now scheduling cases five days a week, but surgeons are seeing an increase in their wait time from patient consultation to surgery scheduling, according to the application.

Most of the Delaware Surgical Arts’ patients come for skin cancer treatment, specifically Mohs micrographic surgery, a procedure where surgeons and dermatologists remove and examine each layer of cancerous tissue under a microscope until only cancer-free tissue remains. Patients are put under anesthesia.

After the skin cancer is removed completely, reconstructive surgery can be performed. Mohs microsurgery reduces cancer recurrence under 4% for most types.

Of the Delaware Surgical Arts’s four surgeons, one is the only trained Mohs surgeon in New Castle County. That surgeon’s volume has tripled, according to the application filed with the Health Resource Board.

Renovation should start at the end of 2022.


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