What Does a Mole That Comes Back with a Comment 'The Peripheral and Deep Margins Are Positive' Mean?

I had a mole come back as 'melanocytic (dysplastic) nevus, compound, with architectural disorder and moderate to severe cytological atypia. (See comment) -The peripheral and deep margins are positive. What does the comment mean? If this is not melanoma, than what is the 'positive'. Thank you!

Doctor Answers 3

Atypical mole with positive margins

"Positive margins" means that the mole was not entirely removed. As this is a precancerous growth, not a cancerous one (it was not a melanoma), it is very important that the mole be fully removed with "clear" or "uninvolved" margins. You need to have the area re-excised as soon as possible and have the tissue examined again.

South Burlington Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Positive Margins in a Mole

The simple answer to this question is that this mole must be re-excised.  Moderate to severe cytologic atypia means that the nuclei of these cells are unusual and are following a progression toward malignancy.  Positive margins means that some of the mole remains in your body.  In pigmented moles, this generally relates to the appearance of the melanocytes, or pigment producing cells.  Moles with moderate to severe cytologic atypia have a higher chance than normal moles of transforming to melanoma and must be removed (surgically).

Stephen Prendiville, MD
Fort Myers Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 93 reviews

Atypical mole with positive margins

It means the margins aren't clear and they are "positive" for the atypical notation cited. When you have a removal done like this, you want the margins to be clear, so you need to have further excision or shave biopsy or currette of the area done to completely remove the affected area.

F. Victor Rueckl, MD
Las Vegas Dermatologist
4.6 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

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