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Michael J. Cavnar, MD

Michael J. Cavnar, MD
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  • General Surgery
  • Surgical Oncology
This provider offers TeleCare
  • Conditions treated

    Primary liver cancers (cholangiocarcinoma, hepatocellular carcinoma),  Benign liver lesions (adenoma, focal nodular hyperplasia, cysts, hemangioma),  Liver metastases, including colon cancer, neuroendocrine tumors and others,  Cholangiocarcinoma arising in the hilum (Klatskin tumor), bile duct or pancreas,  Pancreas cysts (intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm [IPMN], mucinous cystic neoplasm [MCN], serous cystadenoma),  Pancreatic adenocarcinoma,  Gallbladder mass, adenocarcinoma,  Neuroendocrine tumors arising in the stomach, duodenum, pancreas or small intestine, with or without metastases,  Stomach adenocarcinoma,  Small intestine adenocarcinoma,  Gastrointestinal stromal tumor arising in the stomach and small intestine with or without metastases,  Intra-abdominal sarcoma such as liposarcoma,  Complex or re-operative stomach, duodenal or biliary surgery,  Spleen lesions/malignancy, splenomegaly, hematologic diseases requiring splenectomy
  • About

    Michael J. Cavnar, MD, is part of the surgical oncology and general surgery team at the UK Markey Cancer Center.

    Cavnar earned his medical degree from the Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York. Afterward, he completed five years of a general surgery residency at New York University School of Medicine. He then completed a two-year fellowship in complex general surgical oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in New York City, the same institution where he spent the previous three years completing laboratory research under the guidance of Dr. Ronald DeMatteo through the Surgical Oncology Research Training Program. After the conclusion of 14 years of rigorous medical and surgical training in New York City, Cavnar was recruited to UK to join the Section of Surgical Oncology at the Markey Cancer Center.

    Cavnar’s interests include treating cancers of the liver, biliary tract, pancreas, stomach and small intestine, as well as abdominal sarcomas. His clinical research during his fellowship at MSKCC focused on gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST), which is the most common type of sarcoma, and can occur throughout the GI tract.

    Overall, with the expertise he gained through his training, Cavnar hopes to provide care and treatment to patients at UK HealthCare with a broad array of complex oncologic problems.

    Personal Statement

    I believe the best outcomes for patients with complex oncologic problems are accomplished through careful, detailed, multidisciplinary planning. In other words, measure twice, cut once. Cancer surgery is much more than just cutting and sewing. It involves careful coordination of many factors, including chemotherapy, radiation, nutrition, physical and occupational therapy, optimization of physical and mental health, family support, and much more. Through good teamwork and communication, I believe this can be achieved.

    Faculty Rank

    Assistant Professor of Surgery


    Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York


    General Surgery, New York University Medical Center


    Surgery - Surgical Oncology, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York

    Certifications and Special Training

    American Board of Surgery

    American Board of Surgery, General Surgery

    American Board of Surgery, Complex General Surgical Oncology

  • Procedures performed

    • Whenever possible surgery is performed with minimally invasive techniques, including laparoscopic, robotic and hybrid approaches.
    • Stomach: total, subtotal or partial gastrectomy with Bilroth I or II, or Roux-en-Y reconstruction with lymph node dissection
    • Pancreas: Whipple procedure, central pancreatectomy, distal pancreatectomy/splenectomy
    • Liver: partial hepatectomy or lobectomy, microwave ablation, cyst fenestration
    • Gallbladder: Cholecystectomy with or without liver resection and lymph node dissection
    • Bile duct: bile duct resection with or without liver resection, Roux-en-Y hepaticojejunostomy
    • Small bowel resection including duodenal resection, with or without lymph node dissection
    • Intra-abdominal/retroperitoneal sarcoma resection with multivisceral resection
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