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Minimum histological safety margins in periocular basal cell carcinoma
  1. Michelle T Sun1,
  2. Edwin Figueira1,
  3. Shyamala C Huilgol2,
  4. Dinesh Selva1
  1. 1South Australian Institute of Ophthalmology, University of Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
  2. 2Department of Dermatology, Royal Adelaide Hospital, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Michelle Sun, South Australian Institute of Ophthalmology, Level 8, East Wing, Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia; sun.t.michelle{at}

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What should the surgeon do following excision of a periocular basal cell carcinoma (BCC) when the histopathology reports a narrow histological safety margin (HSM) of less than 0.5 mm? This is a common scenario in which there are few recommended guidelines for management. First, it is well described that terms such as ‘close’ or ‘narrow’ alone have little value in the reporting of histological margins as they are open to widely varying interpretations.1 Objective reporting should include measurement of the narrowest HSM in lateral and deep margins as recommended in pathological reporting guidelines, such as those of the Royal College of Pathologists.2 However, even with a measured margin, the correlation between small HSMs and recurrence rates is not well defined in the literature. Therefore, …

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  • Contributors DS and SCH were responsible for the study design and approval of final manuscript. MTS and EF were responsible for the literature review and drafting of the manuscript.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.