Dr. Filitis among first in U.S. to be board-certified in Micrographic Dermatologic Surgery
Dan Filitis, MD, who practices at MaineGeneral/MDFMR Dermatology Services in Augusta, recently became one of the first Mohs surgeons in the country to be board-certified in Micrographic Dermatologic Surgery by the American Board of Dermatology.
Micrographic dermatologic surgery, more commonly known as Mohs surgery, is a precise surgical technique in which skin cancer is removed in stages in an office setting until all cancer has been removed. Mohs surgery is the most advanced, precise and effective treatment for skin cancer, offering the highest cure rates while preserving healthy tissue.
Dr. Filitis is residency trained in dermatology at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, NH and fellowship trained in micrographic surgery and dermatologic oncology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York, NY. He is a member of the American Academy of Dermatology and the American College of Mohs surgery, and now is boarded in both dermatology and micrographic dermatologic surgery. Dr. Filitis joined the practice and MaineGeneral Medical Center’s medical staff in 2018.
Dr. Filitis said the first exam for the new board certification was held in October 2021 and resulted from the American Board of Dermatology applying in 2018 to the American Board of Medical Specialties to have Mohs Micrographic Surgery accepted for board certification.
“Until just recently, there was never such a thing as a board-certified Mohs surgeon, so it’s very exciting to have that recognition,” he said. “With regard to patient care, it establishes a standard of care nationally and creates an expectation in patient experience that I don’t think was there before.”
Dr. Filitis noted that prior to certification, “there was a very diverse practice nationwide in the Mohs world – you either were fellowship-trained, meaning you spent one to two years post-dermatology residency to learn the technique with another fellowship-trained surgeon in a formal academic program, or you were not, meaning you were a dermatologist practicing Mohs with no formal training outside of whatever you were exposed to in residency or perhaps in a short, sometimes week-long, course. As a patient, this distinction wasn’t easy to make when exploring care options.”
“With this board certification, there’s a national recognition that you’ve had the advanced training and have put in the hours necessary to deliver a certain expected level of care,” he added.
Dr. Filitis said the exam was very specific and focused on what Mohs surgeons like him do daily.
“It included questions on pathology, histologic slide processing, complex cutaneous oncology and reconstructive technique in the form of clinical scenarios and photography,” he said.
In the future, the certifying exam will be administered once a year for new fellowship-trained Mohs surgeons.
Dr. Filitis noted that his practice has seen significant growth in recent years – even considering the impact of COVID-19 – in the number of patients treated and the geographic area they come from.
Patient referrals come to him from a variety of sources – general dermatologists in his practice, area primary care physicians and the Veterans Administration, which is particularly important for local military veterans since the closest VA-employed Mohs surgeon is located in Boston, he said.
Learn more about Mohs micrographic surgery offered through MaineGeneral at MDFMR Dermatology Services.