Surgery is the most common treatment for melanoma. Lymph nodes may be removed at the same time to check them for cancer. Surgery also may be done to remove lymph nodes that have cancer or to remove melanoma that may have spread to other parts of the body.
The most common types of surgery used to treat melanoma include:
- ExcisionExcision.This surgery takes out the melanoma and a little of the tissue around it.
- Lymph node dissection (lymphadenectomy). This is surgery to remove lymph nodes to see if they have cancer cells. Or this may be done to remove lymph nodes that are cancerous.
- Sentinel lymph node biopsy. This surgery removes the first lymph node that the cancer may have spread to from the tumor. If this lymph node doesn't have any cancer cells, then you may not need to have more lymph nodes removed.
After removal of a melanoma, you may need a skin graft or other reconstructive surgery for cosmetic reasons or to restore function. This is most likely if the melanoma was large or was a late-stage tumor.