She presented in March 2012 with a subtle area of hypopigmentation at the site of the tumor. Because of the firmness of the nasal tip, induration could not be appreciated. The patient was worried that this might be a recurrence.
A 3 mm punch biopsy showed "infiltrating BCC with perineural invasion (PNI)."
Photomicrographs courtesy of Dr. Jag Bhawan. Please click on Picasa for more images.
Teaching point: The initial shave bx was not adequate to type the lesion and this was also not commented on by Mohs surgeon. Complex BCCs of the nasal tip pose special problems. Dr. highlight some of these.
Questions to Mohs surgeons: How would you approach this woman who is concerned about cosmetic appearance of nose after second Mohs procedure? Is it likely that after almost four years of insidious growth this tumor may pose special problems for closure and necessitate plastic surgical reconstruction?
View Dr. Michael Albom's Comments on this patient.
1. Leibovitch I, et. al, Basal cell carcinoma treated with Mohs surgery in Australia III. Perineural invasion. J Am Acad Dermatol 2005 Sep;53(3):458-63.
Abstract Conclusion: PNI is an uncommon feature of BCC. When present, PNI is associated with larger, more aggressive tumors, and the risk of 5-year recurrence is higher. This emphasizes the importance of tumor excision with margin control and long-term patient monitoring.
2. Geist DE et. al. Perineural invasion of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma: raising awareness and optimizing management. Dermatol Surg: 2008 Dec;34(12):1642-51. Division of Dermatology, Department of Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts 01605, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org