Presence of residual basal cell carcinoma in re-excised specimens is more probable when deep and lateral margins were positive

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In order to quantify presence of residual BCC in patients with histologic positive margins after the first excison and to correlate the presence of residual tumor in re-excised lesions with the location of the positive margin on the first excision, a retrospective evaluation of 2053 surgically treated BCC was performed. Only 38.3% of the re-excised lesions showed residual tumor. In the group of re-excised lesions where residual BCC was found, 13% had lateral positive margin in the first excision, 39% had deep positive margin and 48% had both lateral and deep positive margins. In the group of re-excised lesions where no residual BCC was found, 49% of the primary excised lesions had lateral positive margin, 32% had deep positive margin and 19% had both deep and lateral positive margins. The association between residual tumor and positive margins was statistically significant (p = 0.01). Our findings confirm that presence of residual tumour is more likely when both lateral and deep margins are compromised.

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