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Given a neoplasm of uncertain behavior of skin on a patient's face that is suspected to be a basal cell carcinoma (BCC), the typical first step is to perform a shave biopsy to determine the type of basal cell carcinomas so that one can decide the treatment {1}. Punch biopsies are also sometimes used instead of shave biopsies {2}.

Shave biopsies and punch biopsies used to diagnose suspected BCCs measure a few mm {2}. The downside of such shave or punch biopsies is that they leave a small scar.

Why do shave biopsies and punch biopsies used to diagnose suspected facial basal cell carcinomas measure a few mm instead of being below 1mm to avoid visible scarring? Of perhaps I am mistaken and there does exist biopsies to diagnose suspected facial basal cell carcinomas that avoid visible scarring?

I don't think we need to get over 1mm of cells for a histology to determine whether a neoplasm of uncertain behavior of skin is a BCC, and if it is, the BCC type, since a human skin cell is much smaller than 1mm.


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