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A reliable frozen section technique for basal cell carcinomas of the head and neck

Wisam Menesi, Edward W Buchel, Thomas Je Hayakawa
Plastic Surgery 2014, 22 (3): 179-82
Basal cell carcinomas (BCCs) of the head and neck treated by conventional techniques of surgical excision, curettage, cryotherapy and radiation therapy have recurrence rates of up to 42%. Mohs micrographic surgery (MMS) decreases the recurrence rate but can be expensive, delay definitive reconstruction and is limited in its availability. The authors report a series of 50 patients with head and neck BCCs treated by a surgeon-directed 'en face' frozen section technique that immediately evaluates the entire peripheral and deep margins during BCC resection, and potentially offers a more efficient and equally effective alternative to MMS. Patient demographics, pathology results, operative time, technique and outcomes are all reported. With a mean follow-up of three years, there was only one recurrence (1.7%). Mean total operative time was 1 h 47 min. The authors conclude that this surgeon-directed 'en face' frozen section technique does not require any specialized training, enables more rapid and reliable results than standard frozen section techniques that are currently used, and provides outcomes equivalent to MMS in the surgical treatment of head and neck BCCs.

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