Recurrence rate of lentigo maligna after micrographically controlled staged surgical excision*

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Lentigo maligna is a slowly growing melanoma in situ. Current guidelines advise wide local excision with a margin of 5 mm as the treatment of first choice, which has recurrence rates ranging from 6% to 20%.


To determine retrospectively the recurrence rate of lentigo maligna after staged surgical excision.


Records of all patients with lentigo maligna treated with our method of staged surgical excision between 2002 and 2011 were retrieved. To identify recurrences we used the computer program Sympathy, which is linked to PALGA, a nationwide network and registry of histo- and cytopathology in the Netherlands.


We identified 100 patients, who were treated with staged surgical excision with 100% immunohistopathological control of lateral margins. Digital pictures were used to facilitate orientation during the several stages of surgery. After a mean follow-up of 60 months, four patients had a recurrence, after 37, 58, 74 and 77 months of follow-up.


Staged surgical excision is superior in clearance and recurrence rates to wide local excision for lentigo maligna and should be considered as the treatment of first choice in national and international guidelines.

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