The mainstay of melanoma treatment is surgery. This takes many forms – from wide excision of the primary site, to node sampling (Sentinel Node Biopsy), complete node clearance or removal of distant metastases. This section explains the surgical treatment as well as the use of high dose chemotherapy in recurrent disease.
Axillary dissection is an operation performed under a General Anaesthetic (going to sleep) which removes all of the lymph nodes (glands) in the armpit.
Complete lymph node dissection
Learn about Complete lymph node dissection.
This operation is performed if you have had a sample of lymph nodes removed and one of those nodes contained melanoma cells.
Isolated limb infusion
Isolated limb infusion (ILI) with anti-cancer drugs is a form of treatment which may be offered to patients with recurrent melanoma or other types of tumour confined to a limb.
A neck dissection is an operation to remove lymph nodes from the neck on one or both sides. The lymph nodes need to be removed if they contain melanoma.
Sentinel node biopsy
The sentinel lymph node biopsy procedure involves three steps - Lymphoscintogram, Intraoperative lymphatic mapping and Selective biopsy of lymph nodes.
Skin surgery and reconstruction
Most wounds created by excision of melanoma can be stitched directly closed. Where possible, incisions are oriented to give the best scar by hiding these in the natural wrinkle-lines, especially on the face.