Intraoperative frozen section and Mohs' micrographic surgery (MMS) are two techniques used to ensure oncological clearance without resorting to unnecessarily wide margins that might compromise reconstructive options for definitive wound closure. In addition to some technical issues, these techniques are suboptimal for resection of tumours such as melanoma, where specific tissue margins at histopathology are required to ensure minimal risk of local recurrence. We describe a technique that minimizes the amount of tissue excised and uses definitive paraffin sections interpreted in a pathology laboratory in order to delay reconstruction until after clear oncologic margins are obtained. This 'delayed reconstruction after pathology evaluation (DRAPE)' technique is particularly directed at extensive and complicated skin lesions, located in areas of the body that can be difficult to reconstruct and are prone to disfigurement and/or loss of function. A review of the literature is undertaken, establishing the role of each technique in achieving clear surgical margins. A case example is presented, highlighting the role of the DRAPE approach. The DRAPE technique is presented as a useful option for high-risk lesions, especially within aesthetically sensitive regions or for complex reconstructions, and when reconstruction can be reasonably delayed while tumour clearance is established.
- Frozen section
- Wide local excision