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Low Clinically Significant Rate of Recurrence in Benign Nevi

Tallon, Ben MBChB, FRACP*,†,‡; Snow, John MBChB, FRACP§

American Journal of Dermatopathology:
doi: 10.1097/DAD.0b013e31824731b7
Original Study

Abstract: The recurrence rate of benign nevi has been infrequently reported and primarily as a rate of clinical recurrence. The aim of this study was to document the rate of recurrence leading to re-excision of previously biopsied nevi (the clinically significant recurrence rate). Nevi undergoing primary biopsy with a minimum 5 years follow-up were reviewed in a pathology database for recurrence requiring a further excision. A total of 1035 nevi were reviewed including 196 dysplastic nevi. Twenty six percent of nevi had a positive margin, more common in shave and punch than ellipse biopsied lesions. Three cases recurred requiring re-excision resulting in a pathology recurrence rate of 0.3%. These 3 cases showed benign changes and 2 were originally excised with clear margins. The rate of recurrence requiring re-excision is very low at 0.3%. This suggests that few cases of clinical recurrence are re-excised. Re-excision of benign nevi including mild and moderately dysplastic nevi may not be necessary.

Author Information

*Pathlab Bay of Plenty, Tauranga, New Zealand

Department of Dermatology, Tauranga Hospital, Tauranga, New Zealand

Dermatology institute SKIN, Tauranga, New Zealand

§Diagnostic Medlab, Auckland, New Zealand.

Reprints: Ben Tallon, MBChB, FRACP, Pathlab Bay of Plenty, Elizabeth St, Tauranga, New Zealand (e-mail:

The authors declare no funding or conflict of interest.

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.