The Redmond Clinic

Melanoma Surgery

The Redmond Clinic provides all aspects of surgical care for the treatment of melanoma skin cancers, as well as mole-mapping services.

Melanoma

Melanoma is a serious form of skin cancer that occurs when (melanocytes) the pigment-producing cells that give colour to the skin become cancerous. The main cause of melanoma is ultraviolet exposure, either from the sun or from artificial sources of ultraviolet radiation (e.g. sunbeds). Professor Redmond offers a self-referred mole-mapping service and strongly recommends that individuals get any suspicious moles or freckles examined as soon as possible.

Melanoma can grow quickly if left untreated, and therefore needs to be removed as early as possible. The exact nature of your operation will depend on the type, size, and location of the melanoma.

Small melanoma skin cancers may be removed as a day procedure, (meaning you can go home the same day) while you are awake and with local anaesthesia. The lesion is removed and sent to the pathology laboratory for analysis. The  incision is closed with sutures and a dressing is applied.

Larger melanoma skin cancers may be removed under local anaesthesia with some sedation, or sometimes under general anaesthesia (with you are asleep). The lesion is removed and sent to pathology laboratory for analysis. Depending on the thickness of your melanoma lesion a sample of the lymph nodes (sentinel node biopsy) may be indicated. If any of these treatments are necessary then Professor Redmond will discuss them with you before your operation.

Below are explanations of some common terms related to melanoma surgery.

 

Primary excision is the surgical treatment to remove the melanoma lesion. The melanoma itself and a margin (the area of normal skin around the lesion) are removed. The amount removed depends on the type of melanoma. This is usually performed using local anaesthetic but may require general anaesthesia. If a wide area of skin is removed, a skin graft may be necessary. 

It may be necessary to assess the lymph glands depending on the type of melanoma to determine whether cancerous cells have spread. This technique is called sentinel lymph node biopsy and it allows us to determine if any melanoma cells have spread from the melanoma itself. This technique can be done as a day case under general anaesthesia. If the result is negative you usually don't need any more treatment. If the sentinel lymph node is positive (contains melanoma cells) you may need further surgery and/or treatment.

If the regional lymph glands contain melanoma cells at initial diagnosis or subsequently through a sentinel lymph node biopsy, the remaining regional nodes may need to be removed to prevent spread of the disease. This is called ‘lymphadenectomy.’ Common sites are the neck, the groin and under the arm.

This is the term used if an isolated secondary deposit grows and is found at diagnosis but more often during or after follow-up. The term refers to the surgical removal of secondary or metastasis.

This is a technique that is occasionally used to treat scattered deposits of melanoma under the skin. It allows the delivery of chemotherapy in high concentrations to the diseased area with minimal toxicity to the rest of the body.

The Redmond Clinic

Contact us today to book your appointment. Self-referrals are accepted for patients accessing the mole-mapping service.