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Invited Commentary
Practice Gaps
May 2014

Wrong-Site Surgery in Dermatology

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Dermatology, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York
JAMA Dermatol. 2014;150(5):558-559. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2013.9798

Dermatologic surgeons are faced with a unique challenge that goes beyond the decision of “right” or “left” when identifying the correct anatomical site for surgery. In many instances, we are expected to identify a 3- or 4-mm biopsy site on a background of severely actinically damaged skin, confounded by scale, erythema, or scars from previous procedures, and armed only with a biopsy report that says “nose” or “cheek.”

For reasons detailed in the article by Alam and colleagues1 in this issue of JAMA Dermatology, uncertainty on the part of the surgeon or incongruity between the patient and the surgeon is an inevitable occurrence. The study provides an excellent decision tree to help dermatologic surgeons navigate these situations in an effort to help minimize wrong-site surgery in dermatology.

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