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Correspondence
June 2000

The Appropriateness of Curettage and Electrodesiccation for the Treatment of Basal Cell Carcinomas

Arch Dermatol. 2000;136(6):800. doi:

In the article by Thissen et al1 in the October issue of the Archives of Dermatology, published data from our institution were quoted. The article compared the recurrence rates of basal cell carcinomas (BCCs) following different treatment modalities, including Mohs micrographic surgery, surgical excision, and curettage and electrodesiccation (C&E). They presented subsets of the C&E data from a 1977 study by Kopf et al2 from our institution as 3 separate studies. The highest rate of 18.8% cumulative recurrence at 5 years corresponded to C&E performed by resident physicians-in-training at the Skin and Cancer Unit of New York University Medical Center, New York. NY, from 1958 to 1962. Because of this finding, a greater effort was made to teach and supervise residents in this operative procedure. As a result, the cumulative recurrence rate of BCC at 5 years following C&E by resident physicians dropped to 9.6% as measured in 1970. The lowest 5-year cumulative recurrence rate in this study of 5.7% corresponded to C&E procedures performed by a fully trained dermatologist in his private practice from 1962 to 1973 (A.W.K.). In addition, they presented a 5-year cumulative recurrence rate of BCC following C&E of 13.2% from a 1991 study by Silverman et al3 performed by resident physicians-in-training at the Skin and Cancer Unit of New York University Medical Center from 1955 to 1982.

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