Stretch test: effectiveness in identifying basal cell carcinoma borders

Ann Plast Surg. 2012 Jan;68(1):72-3. doi: 10.1097/SAP.0b013e3182119126.


Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common malignant tumor in the world. Total tumor ablation is the gold standard of treatment. Our aim in this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a new clinical method, we dubbed the "stretch test," in reducing the incidence of incomplete excision of BCC. All BCCs excised between October 2001 and June 2007, by 1 plastic surgeon, served as the treatment population. Until September 2004, BCCs were excised in the traditional manner and this group served as a control. From October 2004, the stretch test was used in all patients with BCC and this group served as a study group. Overall, the incomplete excision rate was 3.7% (22/596). The rate of incompletely excised BCC until 2004 was 6.4% (16/249) and it decreased significantly (P < 0.05) from 2004 to 1.7% (6/347) in the group in which the stretch test maneuver was used. We found a significant decrease in the rate of incomplete excision of BCC when the stretch test was employed. This reduces the need for reexcision, improves patient recovery, and satisfaction, and helps reduce healthcare costs.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Basal Cell / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Basal Cell / surgery*
  • Diagnostic Techniques, Surgical*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Skin / pathology*
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology
  • Skin Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Treatment Outcome