Article Image

Melanoma Removal: Info on the procedure, risks, complications, preparations

  • Posted on- Aug 02, 2016
  • 2
Written by site author.

Melanoma is a form of skin cancer where the cells producing melanin start forming a tumour, which appears like a mole on the skin surface. Irregularities in the shape of the mole, increasing size of the mole, and appearance of a large number of moles should be tested for melanoma. Melanoma Removal is a process that involves the surgical removal of the entire melanoma. Malignant melanoma (spread of the melanoma cancer cells throughout the body) is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. Melanoma Removal procedure is performed as a treatment for melanoma skin cancer.

How a melanoma removal surgical procedure is performed?

  • A diagnosis of melanoma is confirmed by carrying out a biopsy of the skin lesion
  • A local excision is made that includes the skin and tissue around the melanoma. The extent of the excision will depend upon the stage of cancer, the size and depth of the melanoma
  • In case of a thin melanoma, a simple excision is made to remove the tumor and a small margin of non-cancerous cells (at least 1cm) is removed as well. The surrounding margin of non-cancerous cells is removed to prevent the recurrence of a melanoma
  • In case of a thick melanoma, a wide excision is made and a much larger margin of non-cancerous cells are removed (at least 2cm)
  • For melanoma more than 1mm deep, sentinel lymph node biopsy is carried out (the lymph node close to the excision is removed) to determine the spread of melanoma to the nearby lymph nodes
  • The excision is then either stitched or a skin graft is used for healing the wound, depending on the site and extension of the excision. The stitches can be removed within 7-14 days

A general surgeon, an oncology surgeon, a dermatologist, or a plastic surgeon and a reconstructive surgeon may carry out the surgery. The length of the surgery depends on the extent of the melanoma and the type of surgery planned.

Preparations needed before a melanoma removal surgical procedure

  • The physician may evaluate the patient’s medical history to gain a comprehensive knowledge of the medications that are being taken currently
  • Some of the medication may increase the patient’s chances of bleeding and hence the physician may recommend them to stop such medications for a period of time before performing the procedure
  • Sometimes blood test might be performed to determine if the patient has a bleeding tendency or any other medical conditions that prevent them from undergoing the procedure

Depending on the stage of the melanoma, the physician will require routine blood and urine examination and imaging studies to determine if the melanoma has spread to other areas.

Risks and complications during melanoma removal surgical procedure

The complications that may arise during the surgery are:
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Infection
  • Injury to the neighbouring structures
  • Pain
  • Anaesthetic complications

Risks and complications after melanoma removal surgical procedure

The complications that may arise after the surgery are:
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Infection of the surgical wound
  • Nerve damage
  • Recurrence of cancer due to incomplete removal of cells
  • Graft rejection (if skin graft is used for healing)

Post-operative care needed after melanoma removal surgical procedure

At home, the following post-operative care is recommended after a melanoma removal surgical procedure:
  • The dressing may be removed 48 hours after the surgery (If no skin graft is used), as advised by the surgeon
  • The surgical area should be kept clean and dry
  • Any pain killers or antibiotics should be taken only as prescribed by the physician
  • If a skin graft has been used, follow specific instructions for bathing and dressing the wound, as suggested by the surgeon


user profile image
13-06-2017 07:02 PM

Great information shared. Will contact Lazoi in future for Sure.

user profile image
18-04-2017 01:09 AM

I had suffered from Melanoma, it was a very deadly experience. I had my treatment done and the post operational results are very fine.

Ask a Query