Head and neck basal cell carcinoma: treatment using a 2-mm clinical excision margin


Mr S. Sood, Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery, Bradford Royal Infirmary, Duckworth Lane, Bradford BD9 6RJ, UK.


Treatment of basal cell carcinoma (BCC) should completely remove the tumour whilst preserving the maximum amount of normal surrounding skin. Therefore, treatment is a compromise between safe excision margins and obtaining a satisfactory cosmetic result. We report the results of a prospective study of 63 patients who underwent excision of well-demarcated BCCs in the head and neck region. The surgical excision margin used was 2 mm. Histological assessment confirmed complete excision in 95% and there was no evidence of recurrence of the BCC over a 24-month follow-up period in all patients. We propose that a clinical excision margin of 2 mm is adequate for treatment of simple, well demarcated BCCs arising in the head and neck.