Recurrence rate of benign nevi

Tallon B, Snow J. Am J Dermatopathol. Accepted 2011

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 (clinically significant recurrence rate).  Nevi undergoing primary biopsy with a minimum 5 year 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. 26% of nevi had a positive margin, more common in shave and punch than ellipse biopsied lesions. 3 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.