Impact of COVID-19 on dermatologic surgery: experience of a Midwestern academic practice

Remi Hamel, Bruin Pollard, M. Laurin Council

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has disrupted clinical practice everywhere. The aim of this study was to quantify the specific impact of COVID-19 on skin cancer treatment at an academic dermatologic surgery practice. We conducted a retrospective chart review to compare metrics such as patient visits, histological upgrading, and Mohs stages per tumor between 60-day periods immediately before and after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. Out of 1138 total encounters, decreases of 58% in total in-person visits and 38% in Mohs surgeries performed were observed following declaration of the pandemic. More squamous cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma in situ (SCC/SCCIS) and less basal cell carcinoma (BCC) tumors were treated post-declaration compared to pre-declaration. There was a significantly higher histological upgrade rate for total tumors, as well as for the BCC subgroup, but not the SCC/SCCIS subgroup. While the overall number of dermatologic surgeries decreased after declaration of the pandemic, the higher histological upgrade rate reflects an appropriate triage of higher risk skin cancers. These findings may be useful both to assess the effectiveness of protocols for COVID-19 and to prepare for future resource-limited scenarios.

Original languageEnglish
JournalArchives of Dermatological Research
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • COVID-19
  • Dermatologic surgery
  • Mohs surgery
  • Pandemic


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