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Initial surgical management of melanoma of the skin and unusual sites

Michael Stone, MD
Section Editors
Michael B Atkins, MD
Martin Weiser, MD
Hensin Tsao, MD, PhD
Russell S Berman, MD
Deputy Editor
Michael E Ross, MD


Proper surgical management is critical for the diagnosis, staging, and optimal treatment of primary cutaneous melanoma.

The goals of surgery include:

Histologic confirmation of the diagnosis, which ideally has been established through an appropriately planned biopsy. (See "Pathologic characteristics of melanoma".)

Obtaining complete and accurate microstaging of the primary tumor to guide therapy. (See "Tumor node metastasis (TNM) staging system and other prognostic factors in cutaneous melanoma".)

Appropriate excision of the margin around the primary site to minimize the risk of local recurrence without compromising additional staging maneuvers (eg, sentinel lymph node biopsy potentially is less accurate after wide margin excision).


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Literature review current through: Sep 2016. | This topic last updated: Jun 28, 2016.
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