Wide Local Excision for Treatment of Melanoma
If melanoma is caught early, it is highly treatable. Surgery with wide local excision is the main treatment for early melanomas and may be used as part of the treatment approach for advanced melanomas.
Depending on the depth of the melanoma (or Breslow thickness), the margin of normal tissue surrounding the abnormal lesion varies. This is done after the diagnosis is made. This helps reduce the risk of the cancer returning at the primary site.
What to Expect
Wide local excision is a procedure that removes a rim of normal tissues around the lesion. This is called the margin. The size of the margin depends on the Breslow thickness of the melanoma and sometimes the location on the body. This procedure is well-tolerated and typically only requires over the counter pain medications like Tylenol or ibuprofen. The procedure is usually an outpatient procedure.
|Breslow <1mm||1 cm|
|Breslow 1.01-2mm||1-2 cm|
|Breslow 2.01-4mm||2 cm|
|Breslow >4mm||2 cm|
Preparing for Surgery
This procedure requires no specific preparation. You will receive instructions regarding anesthesia requirements prior to your surgery.
Recovery is usually fairly quick. Depending on the location and size of the incision, most patients are feeling well a few days after the surgery. Each surgery has different activity restrictions based on where the incision is. Your surgeon will give you specific postoperative instructions.