Incomplete Excision of Basal Cell Carcinoma: Rate and Associated Factors among 362 Consecutive Cases


Address correspondence and reprint requests to: David Farhi, MD, Department of Dermatology and Venereology, Hôpital Tarnier–Cochin, 89 rue d'Assas, 75006 Paris, France, or e-mail:


BACKGROUND Reported rates of incomplete excision of basal cell carcinoma (BCC) range from 4% to 16.6%.

OBJECTIVE The objective was to assess, in clinical practice, the rate and the factors associated with pathologically reported incomplete excision of BCC.

METHODS In this retrospective monocentric study, data from all surgically excised BCCs during the year 2004 were computerized. Age, sex, number of BCC excised during the same surgical session, BCC location, pathologic types, and involvement of surgical margins were analyzed.

RESULTS Mean age of the 284 patients was 67.4±14.9 (SD) years (range, 27–96 years). A total of 52.7% of the 362 BCCs were located on the face (including nose, 10%; eyelids, 4.2%; lips, 2%; and ears, 2.2%). Incomplete excisions occurred in 10.3% of the cases including 8.6% of positive lateral margins and 2.5% of positive deep margins. In the multivariate analysis, incomplete excision was independently associated with location on the nasal ala (p<.02), other parts of the nose (p=.02), and inner canthus (p=.01) and with infiltrative (p<.0001) and multifocal (p<.0001) types.

CONCLUSION Pathologically reported incomplete excision rate was comparable to that of other studies and was significantly associated with the location on the face, particularly on the nose and inner canthus, and with infiltrative and multifocal histologic types.