Melanoma is a type of malignant skin cancer. Though it is less common than squamous cell carcinoma of the skin and basal cell carcinoma, it is much more serious. Melanoma has the ability to metastasize, which means that it can spread to the lymph nodes or other parts of the body, including internal organs. In advanced stages, melanoma is universally fatal. For these reasons, it is very important that melanoma is treated correctly by a doctor familiar with cancer (oncologic) surgery, and head and neck anatomy.
Many melanomas arise in previously known, long-standing moles, freckles, or other nevi (pigmented skin lesions). It is very important to remember that not all bumps or spots are moles. Doctors often speak of the “A B C’s” of melanoma, which is a useful mnemonic for remembering some of the signs that a skin lesion may be more serious. These signs are:
A – Abnormal shape
B – irregular Border; also Bleeding (ulceration)
C – Color change or multiple colors (splotchy areas)
D – Diameter larger than a pencil eraser (5mm)
E – Elevation (raised or bumpy surface)
Dr. Ransom removes melanomas in sensitive areas of the face and neck. He then sends the tissue for specialized processing with microscopic examination of the margins, the depth of the lesion, and immunologic stains (immunohistochemical analysis). Once confirmation is received that the tumor is completely cleared, he performs complex reconstructions, using meticulous techniques and local flaps. Dr. Ransom strives in all cases to ensure your scar is nearly imperceptible.
Melanoma removal and reconstruction is performed under local anesthesia or with sedation, depending on patient preference and other factors. Please note that some cases require lymph node mapping (sentinel lymph node biopsy, lymphoscintography, etc.) and must be performed in a hospital setting.
Please note that all patients are different and individual healing times and results may vary. The statements regarding procedures and recovery made here are general rules.