In the 10 years since malignant melanoma was last covered in Clinics in Plastic Surgery, significant changes have occurred in the diagnosis and treatment of this disease. Sentinel lymph node biopsy has now become the standard of care in melanoma. The staging system was totally revamped in 2002, taking into account the significance of ulceration and the information gained during sentinel node biopsy. With more than 60,000 patients diagnosed each year with malignant melanoma, the plastic surgeon must continue to be pivotal in the management of patients with this disease, coordinating care among the specialists and being integral in all aspects of surgery and follow-up.
By William Dzwierzynski, MD, FACS, Professor