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Dermatol Surg. 2009 Jan;35(1):30-3. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-4725.2008.34379.x. Epub 2008 Nov 19.

Nonmelanoma skin cancers of the ear: correlation between subanatomic location and post-Mohs micrographic surgery defect size.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah 84132, USA.



Nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC) of the ear can result in large defects with significant morbidity.


To determine whether subanatomic location of NMSCs, based on ease of visualization of the ear, correlated with post-Mohs micrographic surgery (MMS) defect size.


A retrospective chart review of 142 post-MMS ear lesions was performed and categorized according to subanatomic location: the helix, antihelix, and tragus (Location 1); retroauricular (Location 2); and conchal bowl, scapha, and triangular fossa (Location 3).


The average defect sizes were 2.50 cm(2) (Location 1), 5.76 cm(2) (Location 2), and 4.03 cm(2) (Location 3). Tumors in Location 1 were significantly smaller than those occurring in Location 2 (P<.001) and Location 3 (P<.01), but a significant difference in size was not seen between Locations 2 and 3 (P=.16). As a control group, we randomly selected 50 NMSC cases from the nose and found the average defect size of nose NMSCs to be 1.58 cm(2).


MMS defects of the ear are larger in nonvisible parts of the ear. As a group, MMS defects on the ear were larger than those on the nose.

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