Treatment Options for Melanoma

At Yale Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, our surgeons and team of experienced professionals work in tandem with you and your oncologist to create a customized treatment plan. We will explain the plan in detail so that you understand the procedures, the risks, the benefits, the side effects, and the target outcome.

Overall, your treatment plan will depend on the type and stage of melanoma you have. Treatment might include: surgery, isolated limb perfusion and infusion, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, or even experimental treatments.

We focus on the diagnostic and surgical aspects of your treatment plan as well as isolated Limb Perfusion and Infusion. Your oncologist will provide chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and other ancillary care. If you have early-stage melanoma, you may need only surgery with no follow-up treatment.

Surgical Procedures
We understand that disfigurement and significant scarring, especially to the face, neck, hands, and feet can be distressing for patients. Our surgeons offer the most current surgical procedures available to remove primary and metastatic melanoma from all parts of the body surface. Their goal is to treat melanoma while retaining the natural appearance of the affected area to the highest possible degree. Some melanomas on the skin of the head and neck can be removed with a technique called Mohs surgery. In Mohs surgery, the cancer is removed layer by layer to minimize the amount of healthy tissue that needs to be removed in order to reduce scarring or disfigurement.

In most cases where reconstruction is necessary, our surgeons can perform all reconstructive surgery at the same time of the excision (removal) surgery.

Our surgeons also remove cancerous lymph nodes and perform resection of the cervical, axillary, inguinal femoral, and iliac lymph node basins for metastatic melanoma. They use the most current surgical techniques, including minimally invasive (laparoscopic) surgery and robotic surgery. Robotic surgery allows for unmatched precision and requires significantly smaller incisions, which results in less pain, scarring, and recovery time for patients.

Isolated Limb Perfusion and Infusion
Patients with in transit metastases, an aggressive form of recurrent melanoma, of the arms and legs may find successful treatment with isolated limb perfusion and infusion.

Patients with in transit metastases have numerous melanoma nodules that often rapidly increase in size and quantity. Many patients with this form of melanoma can no longer undergo surgical removal of the nodules.

In isolated limb perfusion and infusion, the blood flow to the arm or leg is isolated and the limb is treated with high-dose chemotherapy. Because the chemotherapy treatment is administered directly to the limb(s), the rest of the body is not affected by the chemo.