Clinical and Pathological Findings in Reexcision of Incompletely Excised Basal Cell Carcinomas Academic Article uri icon


  • In common practice, patients with incompletely excised basal cell carcinomas (BCCs) are referred to elective reexcision. In previous reports, it was observed that tumor cells are found in only 50% of the reexcised specimens. The authors performed a retrospective analysis of a large series of patients to evaluate clinical and pathological findings in patients who underwent reexcision of incompletely excised BCCs. A total of 1,478 BCCs arising in 1,278 patients were excised by plastic surgeons in a plastic and reconstructive surgery department during a 4-year period. In 159 patients (10.8%), the excision was incomplete according to the pathological report. These tumors were defined as an incompletely excised BCCs. One hundred of the 159 patients with incompletely excised BCCs (62.9%) were reoperated. Residual tumor cells were found in 28 of 100 patients (28%) within the pathological specimen of the reexcised tissue (defined as positive reexcision, or +veRE). There was no correlation between +veRE and the age or sex of the patient. Location of the BCCs in the cheeks, eyelids, or ears was associated with a low percent of +veRE (10.0%, 13.3%, and 22.2% respectively). Pathological factors associated with a low percent of +veRE were dermal inflammatory infiltrate in the pathological specimen (p = 0.003) and sun damage pathological changes (p = 0.03), but there was no correlation with the pathological subtype distribution of the tumors. The authors conclude that lack of tumor cells at reexcision of incompletely excised BCCs is associated with location of the tumors in the cheeks, eyelids, and ears, and with pathological findings of dermal inflammatory infiltrates or sun damage changes. The roles of inflammatory and solar changes in the destruction of residual carcinoma cells should be investigated further.

publication date

  • January 1, 2001