Excision margins in squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue: A retrospective audit and review of the literature


The incidence of close and involved tongue resection margins for squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) were reviewed with the aim to identify any possible need for change in the surgical approach to glossectomies. The histopathological reports of 101 partial glossectomies for SCC between 2006 and 2012 were retrospectively reviewed. Results: Overall 52 (51.5%) patients had one or more close or involved margin and 9 (8.9%) had both close and involved margins. 42 (41.5%) patients had close margins and 11 (10.9%) had involved margins. The inferior/lateral muscoal margin was most frequently close/involved (32%) followed by deep margin (27%). The anterior margin was least close/involved (5%). The posterior and superior/medical margins were close/involved in 12% and 11% of cases respectively. Conclusions: 52.5% of patients had close or involved margins following surgery, potentially requiring further treatment to avoid an increased risk of tumour recurrence and the associated increase in morbidity and mortality. The inferior/lateral and deep margins were most frequently involved possible due to the anatomical difficulties visualising and dissecting these margins. The potential explanations for these disparities and possible solutions are discussed.

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Thake, M. and Kalantzis, A. (2013) Excision margins in squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue: A retrospective audit and review of the literature. Open Journal of Stomatology, 3, 70-74. doi: 10.4236/ojst.2013.31013.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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