Preoperative lymphoscintigraphy was performed in 198 consecutive patients with cutaneous melanoma prior to their definitive surgical treatment. After intradermal injection of antimony sulphide colloid labelled with technetium-99m, lymphatic flow rates were measured in each patient and found to vary according to the location of the primary tumour. The fastest flow rates occurred from melanoma sites on the distal limbs, particularly the lower limbs. The slowest flow rates were from the head and neck region and the proximal limbs, especially the upper arms and shoulders. Lack of flow in the early dynamic images occurred most commonly for tumours on the upper arms and shoulders. These results can be used to optimize the timing of blue dye injection prior to surgery and may influence the sentinel node biopsy method to be used in individuals who show no early drainage.