Background: Although curettage and electrodesiccation (C&E) is widely used to treat basal cell carcinoma, whether electrodesiccation improves outcome is unknown. Objective: We sought to compare cure rates of curettage alone with those of C&E. Methods: We conducted a retrospective records review of patients treated with curettage alone at 5-year follow-up or longer that extracted data about tumor location, size, histologic subtype, biopsy specimen margin involvement, and recurrence, as well as data about the medical history of patients treated in a dermatology clinic in a tertiary-care academic medical institution. Results: Biopsy-proven tumors (302) amenable to treatment with C&E and treated by a single investigator with curettage alone had a 5-year cure rate of 96.03%, with minimal complications (hypopigmentation, scarring). Tumors involving more than 50% of the deep edge of the shave biopsy specimen had an increased risk of recurrence. Limitations: This is a retrospective study based on historic controls. Conclusion: For nonaggressive basal cell carcinoma, curettage alone has a cure rate similar to the published rates for C&E.
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