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The Surgical Management of Spitz Nevi

Authors


  • M. E. MURPHY, CPT, USA, MC, J. D. BOYER, CDR, USN, MC, M. E. STASHOWER, LCDR, USN, MC, AND J. A. ZITELLI, MD HAVE INDICATED NO SIGNIFICANT INTEREST WITH COMMERCIAL SUPPORTERS.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Michael E. Murphy, CPT, USA, MC, Department of Dermatology, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, 6900 Georgia Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20307, or e-mail murphymd@aol.com.

Abstract

background. The biologic behavior of Spitz nevi and atypical Spitz nevi ranges from completely benign to the rare malignant melanoma. Various recommendations for the surgical approach to these lesions have been proposed.

objective. To determine any trend in the surgical management of Spitz nevi and atypical Spitz nevi among a community of dermatologists.

methods. Retrospective review of the clinical features, surgical management and outcome of 89 patients with the diagnosis of Spitz nevus or atypical Spitz nevus.

results. All biopsy techniques had a high incidence of involved margins: shave (67%), excision (28%), and punch (21%). Of the atypical Spitz nevi with positive margins on biopsy, there was a trend (7/9) toward reexcision with narrow margins (average 2.2 mm).

conclusion. The majority of atypical Spitz nevi incompletely removed by biopsy were excised with narrow uncontrolled margins. A stratified surgical approach depending on the clinical and histopathologic features of the Spitz lesion is proposed. More aggressive surgical management of Spitz lesions with atypical features may be warranted. Further studies to determine the biologic potential of these lesions are needed.

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