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September 1959

Observations on the Critical Margin for the Complete Excision of Carcinoma of the Skin

Author Affiliations

San Francisco

From the Subdepartment of Dermatology of the Department of Medicine, University of California School of Medicine.

AMA Arch Derm. 1959;80(3):344-345. doi:10.1001/archderm.1959.01560210086016

Carcinomata of the skin can be treated dermatologically by means of x-ray, radium, surgical excision, or curettage and desiccation. With any of these methods, it is important to remove not only all of the tumor tissue but, if recurrences are to be prevented, a certain amount of carcinomafree tissue as well. The present study was undertaken to determine how much healthy tissue must be removed in such cases to insure an adequate margin of safety. The subjects consisted of 169 patients with basalor squamous-cell carcinoma of the skin treated by curettage and chemosurgery in the Dermatology Clinic or in private practice during the past six years. None had evidence of metastases. In each case layers of tissue were removed from the malignant area until microscopic examination of the excised material showed no further evidence of carcinoma. Since the extent of the lesions can usually be determined

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