Managing malignant melanoma

Plast Reconstr Surg. 2013 Sep;132(3):446e-460e. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e31829ad411.


The incidence of melanoma is increasing worldwide. Melanomas represent 3 percent of all skin cancers but 65 percent of skin cancer deaths. Melanoma is now the fifth most common cancer diagnosed in the United States. Excisional biopsy should be performed for lesions suspicious for melanoma. The pathologist's report provides essential information for surgical treatment; the most important information is the Breslow depth of the lesion. In addition to wide surgical excision of the primary lesion, sentinel lymph node biopsy is the standard of care for early identification of regional metastasis. Nodal metastasis found in the sentinel lymph node biopsy should be followed with a complete lymph node dissection. Although surgery remains the primary treatment of melanoma, recent advances in chemotherapy may offer further survival benefits to patients with metastatic disease.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Biopsy
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Humans
  • Lymph Node Excision
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Melanoma* / diagnosis
  • Melanoma* / etiology
  • Melanoma* / surgery
  • Melanoma* / therapy
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Radiotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Risk Factors
  • Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy
  • Skin / pathology
  • Skin Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Skin Neoplasms* / etiology
  • Skin Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Skin Neoplasms* / therapy


  • Antineoplastic Agents