Actas Dermo-Sifiliográficas Actas Dermo-Sifiliográficas
Actas Dermosifiliogr. 2010;101:622-8 - Vol. 101 Num.07 DOI: 10.1016/S1578-2190(10)70684-3

Cost Analysis of Mohs Micrographic Surgery in High-Risk Facial Basal Cell Carcinoma

N. Blázquez-Sánchezab,, M. de Troya-Martínab, M. Frieyro-Eliceguia, R. Fúnez-Liébanac, L. Martín-Márquezd, F. Rivas-Ruize

a Servicio de Dermatología, Empresa Pública Hospital Costa del Sol, Marbella, Málaga, Spain
b CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Empresa Pública Hospital Costa del Sol, Marbella, Málaga, Spain
c Laboratorio de Anatomía Patológica, Empresa Pública Hospital Costa del Sol, Marbella, Málaga, Spain
d Departamento de Económico, Empresa Pública Hospital Costa del Sol, Marbella, Málaga, Spain
e Unidad de Investigación, Empresa Pública Hospital Costa del Sol, Marbella, Málaga, Spain


Micrographic surgery. Mohs. Cost analysis. Cost-effectiveness.



Mohs micrographic surgery (MMS) is the treatment of choice for high-risk facial basal cell carcinoma (BCC) as it offers the greatest chance of cure with maximum preservation of healthy tissue. Its use in Spanish public health care hospitals is still limited, however, due to the controversy surrounding its cost.


To determine the cost of MMS with fresh tissue to treat high-risk facial BCC and compare this to the estimated cost of conventional surgery in a Spanish public hospital. A secondary objective was to identify cost-optimization strategies for MMS.

Material and methods

Cross-sectional study of a consecutive series of patients with high-risk facial BCC who underwent MMS at the Department of Dermatology at Hospital Costa del Sol in Malaga, Spain between July 2006 and December 2007. We performed a descriptive analysis of the clinical characteristics of the patients and surgical factors. We calculated the total and mean cost of MMS and compared the results to the estimated costs of conventional surgery using patients as their own controls. Differences were analyzed according to tumor site and size, histologic subtype, and recurrence.


Seventy-nine patients (mean age, 62 years) with 81 high-risk facial BCCs, 97.5% of which were primary tumors, underwent MMS. The most common tumor site was the nose (57%) followed by the orbital region (25%). Histology showed that 64% of the tumors were infiltrative or micronodular carcinomas. Tumor-free margins were achieved in all patients, with no more than 2 stages required in 88% of the cases. The most common surgical reconstruction techniques were direct closure (21%) and closure with a local skin flap or graft (71%); the corresponding estimates for conventional surgery were 2% and 89%, respectively. The total and mean cost of MMS was €106 129.07 and €1325.80, respectively (compared to €97700 and €1208.70 for conventional surgery). The difference in mean costs between MMS and conventional surgery was not significant (P=.534).


MMS is a viable, effective technique that does not generate significantly higher costs than conventional surgery in selected patients with high-risk facial BCC. Certain technical and organizational strategies could contribute to optimizing the cost of MMS.

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