Original Research

Optimal Cosmetic Outcomes for Basal Cell Carcinoma: A Retrospective Study of Nonablative Laser Management

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This study showed a 95.70% clearance rate for all BCCs and a 96.10% clearance rate for facial BCCs. Although we had a zero clinical recurrence rate, 4.49% of all BCCs and 5.41% of facial BCCs had recurred on subsequent monitoring with noninvasive imaging. Given the large size of the study and extended follow-up, we found nonablative laser management to be a reliable treatment alternative with improved cosmetic outcome (Figure) and minimal short-term adverse effects compared to surgery.

Tailored care for the individual patient is based on a variety of options and patient preference, including ease of compliance, number of follow-up visits, invasive vs noninvasive diagnosis and monitoring, and downtime for healing. The use of noninvasive imaging also allowed us to find a more standardized treatment regimen using this nonablative laser combination. We found that 3 or fewer and more than 3 treatments had similar efficacy in tumor clearance. We recommend a standard laser protocol of 3 treatments every 4 to 6 weeks with follow-up 2 months after the final treatment to assess for clearance with OCT.

Larger BCCs might require additional treatments; therefore, we caution against laser therapy without concomitant use of OCT imaging to visualize residual tumor. Utilizing other noninvasive modalities, such as dermoscopy, in combination with thorough skin examination also is critical in the early detection of skin cancers to improve the efficacy of this less-aggressive, nonablative, and cosmetically optimal treatment protocol.

Acknowledgement—We would like to acknowledge Dimitrios Karponis, BSc, from the Impirial College London, England, for his assistance with a portion of the statistical analysis.


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